welcome folks! this week we’re kicking off a brand new discography – we’ll be looking at the works of English indie rock outfit alt-J. these folks met at college in 2007, and formed a band in sophomore year. they signed with Infectious records after graduating, and An Awesome Wave was their first record, released in 2012.

the opener here, Intro, feels like an incredibly cinematic song. like this could be a movie soundtrack song, haha. i REALLY like this strange little interlude. the vocal layering is very effective here, and i think it contrasts very nicely with the way they work on creating the same kinda vibe in Tessellate, but layering in more instruments and only playing lightly with that kind of vocal interplay. and Tessellate’s a p good time! Breezeblocks is DEFINITELY a track i’ve heard before – i really really enjoy this track a lot. i really appreciate how effectively the drums center the track, and again there’s some really cool vocal work at play here. the second Interlude’s fine. nice little guitar break. Something Good does some fun shifting between the darker verses and the brighter choruses, and i appreciate the contrast, especially as the choruses feel very pleasant-early-2010s-indie, haha. the intro melody to Dissolve Me is SO familiar, but by the time the first verse comes around it’s faded. i’m certain i’ve heard enough works inspired by this album that i’m recognizing the influence, dissolved across the music landscape, but it’s hard to shake at the start, haha. an extremely nice song. Matilda is an extremely good song – it definitely grew on me over the listens of the record. Ms. is neat, but i don’t have tons to say about it. Fitzpleasure’s got some WILD movements to it – the shifts can get very intense between sections of the track. i really like the “verses” here – that deep ass bass, the synth tones, and twangy guitar stabs really work. i think the “brighter” sections of the track don’t work quite as well for me but it’s still a very nice package. the third Interlude is nice and spacey. neat. Bloodflood has a very cool build – starting as a fairly natural build out of the Interlude, and slowly reaching a really strong high point at the end of the track. god the string work on Taro is so so good – it’s a little strange and twangy in really cool way and demands my attention every time, haha. i also didn’t realize Hand-Made was a bonus track at first! that does change the perspective on Taro a bit – neat as the intended closer for sure. not huge on Hand-Made, personally.

faves – Tessellate, Breezeblocks, Something Good, Matilda
dislikes –

yeah i had a great time with this! i think i’m partially tempered in my reaction it because like i said in the track-by-track, i am hearing this a decade removed, after it’s influence on indie rock music has had time to be felt, but i really enjoyed a lot of what they were bringing to the table. some neat, evocative lyrics, some really cool and interesting vocal performances, and some phenomenal instrumentals made this a really cool listen, front to back, and i liked a lot how they did some interplay between their Interludes and the tracks around them. very cool, and i’m excited to check out the next record (and almost certainly hear a few more tracks i didn’t know i knew).

An Awesome Wave – 7/10

next up, we’ll be taking a look at their 2014 record, This Is All Yours!

this is the beginning | next: This Is All Yours

all my reviews for alt-J

have a suggestion for a discography for me to review? let me know!