26 Sep Brightside Review: Alt-J’s ‘This Is All Yours’ Album
The Brit alt-rockers had some colossal shoes to fill with This Is All Yours, considering their debut album An Awesome Wave awarded them overnight success as musicians and branded them as “the next Radiohead.” Alt-J forever reserved their spot on the Brightside boys and girl’s ‘favorites’ list with that album. Naturally, we were all heartbroken when the group Tweeted, “With regret, Gwil is leaving alt-J. This is purely a personal decision and as our best friend we support him completely.” Gwil, the ex-bassist, gave alt-J that signature bass that we all know and love. Nonetheless, alt-J were able to hold true to their name by going through change with impeccable quality and style. From Gwil to no-Gwil, from An Awesome Wave to This Is All Yours, ∆ are holding on to their “the next Radiohead” tag.
Now, getting into the actual album, let’s start off with the intro… surprisingly titled “Intro.” You guys think it was weird too? Well… you’re right. It was weird. Along with the rest of the album. Looping a Shake ‘n Bake of Lah’s, Dah’s, and Hoh’s for a straight minute and a half, they reassured us they are still vibing with the half-computer-half-human style that we know and love alt-J for. Not to mention, they definitely scared off a fat flock of Melvins that, if they made it through the entire album, are likely going to have “Hunger of the Pine” on repeat. The only thing I have to say about “Hunger of the Pine” is this: alt-J are just about the only ones that can make Miley sound dope.
After the “Intro” comes yet another intro, an intro into the not-so-lovely love songs such as the Nara’s… we’ve got “Arrival in Nara” and “Nara” before the rest of the album and the closing “Leaving Nara.” Don’t get me wrong, the production is gracefully orchestrated; but, then you’ve got Newman crooning “Love is a pharaoh and he’s boning me.” I hope to God love is not really a pharaoh coming to life and boning you. Kind of. And no, the lyrical sacrilege does not stop there. In “Every Other Freckle,” he lays down lines so smooth they could (and probably did) win the heart of Queen Elizabeth. For instance, Newman sings, “Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet” as well as “I’m gonna bed you like a cat beds into a bean bag.” The man is a fucking wordsmith.
Taking into account the aforementioned songs as well as songs like “Garden of England,” “Warm Foothills,” and “The Gospel of John Hurt,” it’s pretty clear that these Brits are painting all over the ‘What the Fuck’ spectrum of music. “Garden of England” and “Warm Foothills” make you feel as though you are in the Shire, ready to have second breakfast with an Ale whilst gazing over the rolling hills of New Zealand. Then “Gospel of John Hurt” paints a spacey, folktronica picture of John Hurt, which is the dude that has a monster burst out of his chest in the movie Alien.
Not to make an ass out of you and me; but, assuming the members of alt-J truly identify with ∆, the symbol of change, then I’m going to have to give This Is All Yours a solid 4, as the changes they are going through as a band are vividly expressed throughout the album. They didn’t go with the flow of the rest of the alternative world and make more commercial hits that would satisfy the tastebuds of the stuffed crowds. Instead, alt-J expressed their change of losing Gwil, exploring Nara, and lord know what else by traversing new soundscapes and producing a bizarre and diverse, yet beautifully orchestrated canvass. They wrapped it up, put a bow on it, and gifted This Is All Yours to the world. The tag red, “the next Radiohead, bitch.”
Get the album here.