Thursday, 28 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #241 - alt-J, "An Awesome Wave"

alt-J is one of those names that I've seen written so often that I'm surprised I don't seem to heard any of his music. And I'm assuming it's a guy on his own somewhere. What is it that Alt-J does on the keyboard anyway?

Mannered voice, inflected by the folk business. There's an interlude early on that sounds positively Renaissance. "She may contain the urge to run away/But hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks", he sings on "Breezeblocks". Obsessive love always makes for good pop - cultivates all the right musical and lyrical urges. The narrator of "Something Good" also seems a little love-damaged. There is a big She in "Dissolve Me" too, who makes the sun and the sea. Check out the anima on these guys! These are pop songs staring at the Other from across the gender barricades.

Is it wrong to find the voice(s) so offputting that I can't listen properly to the music, which I suspect I'd quite like? "Dark seeks dark" they chime on "Ms". None of it seems very dark though. It sounds more like some kind of rectal muscular complaint has got in the tracks. I'm put in mind of Hot Chip at their most geekiest apex. But the willful peculiarity of the voice gnaws at my innards. "Bloodflood" sounds a bit like a grandfather clock, it also contains the album title in its lyrics, which I take to be a reference to love's giddy periods.

I don't have the time to give it a proper second lisston, so I'm drifting out on first impressions. It may be I'd like the album after more listens. The irritating stuff is railed back slightly on "Taro" and there's some banghra business too. That is welcome.

Ratings: Giddy out of Gnaw

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