alt-J is back

Lindsay Lillig

Treasured indie group alt-J released its second studio album “This Is All Yours” on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Avid fans are sure to relish in all 55 minutes of the album. However, for listeners who did not like alt-J before, the album may do little to sway their opinion.

The album starts with a four minute long intro track, much like “An Awesome Wave,” their first album, did. This track is an adequate depiction of what the rest of the album sounds like—syncopated melodies, taunting bass lines, celestial instrumentals and eerie vocals.
“Hunger of The Pine”
This was the first and arguably the best single from the album. An electronic melodic phrase plays in the background at the pace of water dripping from a faucet. Lead singer Joe Newman begins his vocal hypnosis with the lyrics, “Sleeplessly embracing butterflies and needles” and “Bedding with me you see at night your heart wears knight armor.” At the bridge, a sample of a Miley Cyrus track is remixed into the rest of the song. Newman sings the last verse in French, “Une immense espérance a traversé la terre, une immense espérance a traversé ma peur.” With that, the band quotes poet Alfred de Musset’s poem “L’espoir en Dieu” in which he said “A great hope has traversed the earth, a great hope has crossed my fear.”

“Left Hand Free”
This is the second single from the album. This song has a completely different sound than “Hunger of the Pine.” Where “Hunger of the Pine” sounds similar to “Tesselate,” “Left Hand Free” is more reminiscent of “Breezeblocks.” A staccato guitar phrase and clipped drum beat play behind Newman’s equally choppy vocals. He sings, “Hey shady baby, I’m hot like the prodigal son” and “Pick a battle eenie meenie miney moe, hey flower you’re the chosen one.” The song continues and ends in relatively the same pattern.

“Every Other Freckle”
This is the third and arguably the second best single. It is by far the most sensual track. Newman opens the first verse with “I want to share your mouthful” and finishes it with “Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.” The overall tone of the song is similar to “Hunger of the Pine” with its smooth melodies and hypnotic vocals, but the lyrics transcend all others on the album. Newman closes with “If you really think that you can stomach me…I want every other freckle.”

“Bloodflood Pt. II”
This is a continuation of “Bloodflood” on the first album. Although the song is more than five minutes long, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. The instrumentals are polished and profound, which is a signature aspect of the group’s style. However, there is no overall drive to the song. Compared to its predecessor, this successor falls flat.
All elements considered, “This Is All for You” is 14 tracks of pure alt-J virtuosity. The group is headlining night two of 96.5 the Buzz’s “Halloweenie Roast” on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at The Midland.