An Awesome Wave

Studio Album by released in 2012

An Awesome Wave review

Science and music of Alt-J

Where are these lads from? Are they from Cambridge, or, maybe, Oxford? In most of their pictures, the members of the new British ensemble Alt-J, we can see really young men in glasses and smiling to us in this cunning, or, rather, patronizing manner, hardly really showing actual smiles. They look like they know a lot more than us and, well, deigned to share something with us. As a matter of fact, the Alt-J band was formed in Leeds after the musicians met one another in one of local colleges or universities where they were studying art in general and English literature to be more exact. So, it seems they have nowhere to run from the aura of wisdom, but they do not really mind it. It for the right reason that the band bears the title which is a hot key combination that enters the sign of triangle. The debut long player of this British outfit, which is already being compared to the stars of Radiohead for the originality and exquisiteness of their song-writing, would be appropriately seen as some kind of substance, a product of intense musical experimentations.

When folk merges with electronica

Trip-folk, folk-step, folkotronica are one of few terms Alt-J lads use to describe the music of their first full-length opus called An Awesome Wave. In fact, before we get to hear this curious mix of folk and electronic music, we will enjoy a very beautiful and melancholic intro and an amazing interlude called The Ripe And Ruin in the a capella form. Essentially, before really playing something that can be called a substantial song, Alt-J already captivate all listeners, whether they are ready for surprise, or express skepticism, or played the record merely by accident. And then follow the sweetest tunes, Tessellate, and Breezebocks. The former is an impressive combination of nervous vocals and delirious keys to void beats, while the latter is so far the best melody in Alt-J history, and vocalist Joe Newman’s best singing. The peculiar breaking rhythms, unexpected guitars and those folkish choral exercises create something that can not be compared to anything else. It was the most right idea to choose both songs as singles. But do not even think that the band is going to use this pattern to the end of the set.

An Awesome Wave: a new standard established

The magnetism, hypnotism, mesmerism of An Awesome Wave is born at the level of emotions colliding in the songs of this album. Alt-J берут take vibrant rhythms in Dissolve Me, and Something Good, stir up a colorful synthesized cocktail and then, all of a sudden, throw the melancholy of singing and lyrics into this mixture. The repetition of fatal phrases uttered in a slightly indifferent and sad voice can cast you in trance, but the question is if you want to get out of there. And this noisy madness is followed by the contrasting minimalism of MS, and the surrealistic sensation is made even deeper in Fitzpleasure whose chilling guitars and muffled beats draw you into the realm of gothic and darkwave, but choir parts again remind of folk. The album is closed by Taro, and Bloodflood sharing the same autumnal grief, but it seems that if the record was continued, the musicials would make something totally different again. Of course, this album is not a result of some spontaneous actions, nor is it just a flash of inspiration. Alt-J put five years of hard work into the making of An Awesome Wave, and it was worth it. The unparalleled fusion of folk vocals, seemingly unsophisticated electronic music and delicately arranged guitars delivers an incredible result. Alt-J have it coming – now everyone will be expecting them to pull something even greater.