Is there a word for when you enjoy something despite the logical parts of your brain telling you that you shouldn’t like it? I think Alt-J exists in this weird space for me and I had forgotten until I got into the opening track here, “Bane”, a pleasurable mess of noise, sound effects, samples lifted from soft drink commercials, and a few bits of instrumental work; half way through my brain went ‘oh, right’ and I wondered if I’d made a mistake.
But then the song led into the gorgeous “U&Me”, then the electric organ of “Hard Drive Gold” (sounding like if The Black Keys took a songwriting lesson or two), then into the atmospheric, melancholic “Happier When You’re Gone”, its strings tugging at your heartstrings behind the warm vocal of Joe Newman.
I don’t know if this is Alt-J’s best work – I still point to “Tessellate” and its accompanying album An Awesome Wave – but it comes pretty close: it’s a wonderfully fluid album that feels like a trip through the group’s past, present and future. I’ll be returning to this one frequently.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.