For Fans Of
Nara is a city in Japan, that for some loosely explained reason, hosts the thematic cycle of Alt-J’s second record ‘This Is All Yours.’ Perhaps the city served as some form of inspiration for the band whilst writing the record, which they did largely in part during their huge touring cycle for the much acclaimed ‘An Awesome Wave.’
The record opens in a similar fashion to its predecessor, with a powerful intro track that busts in with a thick bass line after some gentle vocal harmonies and melodies. This then leads into Arrival in Nara, a soft vocal and guitar number that sets a strong scene with its sparse instrumentation, this is a drift away track, Alt-J are setting up a record that you can get completely lost in.
There is a seamless transition from the arrival in Nara itself, a subtle Japanese gong that shifts into a percussive groove and intertwining piano and guitar arrangements. The one-two punch of the album’s second and third singles Every Other Freckle and Left Hand Free, are game changes, both eclectic, the first with the trademark melody heavy indie rock that the band are known for and the second a little more quirky, groove heavy with a danceable beat, Alt-J are flexing their creative muscle showing that there are no boundaries. Left Hand Free in particular will surprise some fans as the band take some cues from groups like Gorillaz.
When you think of Miley Cyrus, the word “classy” doesn’t exactly spring to mind, but Alt-J have managed to give her a touch of exactly that with one of the album’s standout tracks, Hunger Of The Pine. Super catchy, the Cyrus sample that pipes in every now and then gives the song a nice touch of attitude and interestingly makes it more memorable due to the obscure nature of the reference. The track is sexy, dark and incredibly catchy, with some of the best programming that the band have ever attempted, in the very subtle and minimalist Alt-J way of course, less is more.
We leave Nara with a mix of some more brilliant programming and the vocal acrobatics of the introduction, summing up another amazing album from Alt-J. It would seem that these guys simply can’t do anything wrong.
When Alt-J revealed themselves to the world they garnered plenty of Radiohead comparisons, which is fair enough, but they are certainly paving their own path with this second album. We know what Alt-J sound like now, we are aware of them, now is the time to refine what we can come to expect from their music, which is simply brilliance.
2. Arrival In Nara
4. Every Other Freckle
5. Left Hand Free
6. Garden of England
7. Choice Kingdom
8. Hunger of the Pine
9. Warm Foothills
10. The Gospel of John Hurt
12. Bloodfloor pt. II
13. Leaving Nara