Since the release of the bands Mercury Prize winning debut album An Awesome Wave, the trio have kept fans hungry for more harmonic and literate filled songs. Their reserved – or even shy – image has definitely followed them into the making of the new album, with little give-aways on how they planned to blow our minds off this time. The sad departure of the bassist/guitarist Gwil Sainbury early this year put doubt into the mind of lead singer Joe Newman as to whether they would be able to continue. Fortunately however for all you triangle loving fans, Joe’s unique whiny and hushed voice is back… we know you’ve all missed it.
The first thing you realise about the album is that it has an obvious story line to it; the first 3 songs refer to the arrival in ‘Nara’ (a Japanese city), and then the album ends with ‘Leaving Nara’. It instantly gives a sense of embarking on a journey to discover what all these places and metaphors mean before you even press play!
Once the record gets rolling, you get the intense and complete sound that Alt-J consistently have. Filled with instruments we’ve probably never heard of, more voices than band members and even bee noises between songs.
Clearly creativity is not an issue then. The mid section of the album goes from ‘Choice Kingdom’ – a calm melodic song (which has potential to be our national anthem) with Joe repeatedly singing “Rule Britannia”- to ‘Hunger of the Pine’ which samples Miley Cyrus’ voice saying “I’m a female rebel”. Very rebellious indeed.
Heavier grooves also seem feature more prominently in this record. Songs like ‘Left Hand Free’ and ‘Every Other Freckle’ will get massive sing-alongs in their live shows and will be big crowd pleasers, even for the less knowledgeable.
The riff in ‘Left Hand Free’ is repeated over and over throughout the whole 3 minute song and when it’s over you’re left just wanting more. On ‘Every Other Freckle’ you get non-stop sensual metaphors in quite an unusual, even comical way with lyrics such as “Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet” or “Gonna paw paw at you like a cat paws at my woollen jumper”. Clearly this is what a love song means in alt-J’s books.
The end of the album settles down on a more acoustic side with songs such as ‘Warm Foothills’ (a personal favourite), ‘Pusher’ and ‘Bloodflood pt.2’ bringing back lyrics from their first album as a sort of sequel, adding to the story line theme again. Unfortunately the last 4 songs on the record are too similar to be put together, making the album end in a rather slow and undefinable theme. I much preferred the older album style where they placed their slower songs as interludes to break things up.
However This Is All Yours isn’t only about the music; it holds meaning and plenty of thought behind it. Taking into account everything that was thrown into the making, it should be a complete mess, however diversity and experimenting seems to be their speciality and they don’t hold back. That’s why this album is so exciting and worth every second.