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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2012 | Infectious

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Named after the Mac command also used as a mathematical equation to show change, formed while studying fine art at university, and prone to throwing in the odd geometric reference within their lyrics, there are signs that Cambridge-based quartet Alt-J might be a little bit too clever for their own good. Produced by Charlie Andrew (the Laurel Collective), their debut album, An Awesome Wave, is occasionally guilty of pretentiousness, particularly the irritating a cappella vocal warmup of the interlude "(The Ripe & Ruin)." But for the most part, its 13 tracks do for nu-folk what Everything Everything's equally ambitious debut did for indie rock, breathing new life into the genre with an intriguing but accessible series of art rock twists and turns. Indeed, other than frontman Joe Newman's impassioned -- if occasionally bordering on parody -- vocal style, there's little here in common with the tweeness of Mumford & Sons. "Tessellate" combines the glitchy electronica of Thom Yorke's solo career with the wistful wintry harmonies of Fleet Foxes; "Fitzpleasure" fizzes along with its dubstep-lite beats and acidic basslines before it's interrupted, first by a burst of jangly post-rock and second by the kind of shimmering guitar twangs you'd expect from a Tarantino soundtrack; while "Taro" somehow melds together the unlikely bedfellows of Americana and bhangra to produce a fittingly oddball but enthralling finale. It's to Andrew's credit that these eclectic arrays of sound are woven together in a manner so effortlessly that the results never feel forced or contrived. There are a few more straightforward moments such as "Matilda," a gentle acoustic folk ode to Natalie Portman's troubled character in Léon, and the sparse, haunting "Ms." But Alt-J's wave is far more awesome when it's at its most schizophrenic. ~ Jon O'Brien
£9.59
£6.39

Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2012 | Infectious

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Named after the Mac command also used as a mathematical equation to show change, formed while studying fine art at university, and prone to throwing in the odd geometric reference within their lyrics, there are signs that Cambridge-based quartet Alt-J might be a little bit too clever for their own good. Produced by Charlie Andrew (the Laurel Collective), their debut album, An Awesome Wave, is occasionally guilty of pretentiousness, particularly the irritating a cappella vocal warmup of the interlude "(The Ripe & Ruin)." But for the most part, its 13 tracks do for nu-folk what Everything Everything's equally ambitious debut did for indie rock, breathing new life into the genre with an intriguing but accessible series of art rock twists and turns. Indeed, other than frontman Joe Newman's impassioned -- if occasionally bordering on parody -- vocal style, there's little here in common with the tweeness of Mumford & Sons. "Tessellate" combines the glitchy electronica of Thom Yorke's solo career with the wistful wintry harmonies of Fleet Foxes; "Fitzpleasure" fizzes along with its dubstep-lite beats and acidic basslines before it's interrupted, first by a burst of jangly post-rock and second by the kind of shimmering guitar twangs you'd expect from a Tarantino soundtrack; while "Taro" somehow melds together the unlikely bedfellows of Americana and bhangra to produce a fittingly oddball but enthralling finale. It's to Andrew's credit that these eclectic arrays of sound are woven together in a manner so effortlessly that the results never feel forced or contrived. There are a few more straightforward moments such as "Matilda," a gentle acoustic folk ode to Natalie Portman's troubled character in Léon, and the sparse, haunting "Ms." But Alt-J's wave is far more awesome when it's at its most schizophrenic. ~ Jon O'Brien
£13.19
£8.79

Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2014 | Infectious

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzism
The 2012 Mercury Prize winners begin their sophomore outing with the subversively titled "Intro," a four-and-a-half-minute highlight reel of what's to come that pairs the monastic chanting that prefaced An Awesome Wave's first single, "Fitzpleasure," with a pastiche of new age and worldbeat-blasted ambient pop that suggests Mogwai by way of Peter Gabriel's Real World studios circa 1990 -- it's both planetarium laser light show and art installation ready. The muted yet equally heady "Arrival in Nara," all fingerpicked electric guitar and diffusive synths, and its more muscular yet no less monkish second half, "Nara," do little to rein in the holistic atmosphere that's so decisively laid out in the remarkably potent This Is All Yours' opening moments, which makes the arrival of the punchy, carnally minded "Every Other Freckle" and the meaty, Anglo-Motown thump of "Left Hand Free" so thrilling, but hardly unexpected. After all, this is a band that proved with its debut that it can go from icy, distant, and often excruciatingly beautiful to downright feral at the crack of a snare drum (or pots and pans, as the group's humble, dorm room beginnings often required), and This Is All Yours does little to tarnish their reputation as choirboys with dark passengers. That penchant for edgy refinement, along with frontman Joe Newman's elastic voice, remains the band's most effective weapon, but it's hard to pinpoint where and when that magic occurs, as it's so effortlessly woven into the group's sound. It's somewhere in between the autumnal and apocalyptic, Miley Cyrus-sampling "Hunger of the Pine," the bucolic, recorder-led "Garden of England," and the oddly soulful, midnight-black posturing of "The Gospel of John Hurt," and it gets under your skin, where it somehow manages to both hurt and heal. ~ James Christopher Monger

Pop/Rock - Released July 16, 2012 | Infectious

Pop/Rock - Released May 20, 2012 | Infectious

Pop/Rock - Released October 1, 2012 | Infectious

Pop/Rock - Released December 10, 2012 | Infectious

Alternative & Indie - Released March 18, 2013 | Infectious

Electro - Released February 26, 2012 | Infectious

Pop/Rock - Released May 21, 2012 | Infectious

£10.79
£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released June 2, 2017 | Infectious

Hi-Res
Three years after This Is All Yours, Alt-J are out to take listeners for another joyride. Still defying labels and pigeonholes, the Leeds group has written Relaxer as a disorienting stylistic patchwork. As ever with Alt-J, you could say that their third album is often pop, sometimes folk (Last Year) or raw rock (Hit Me Like That Snare), occasionally electro, or even lyrical (Pleader), sometimes stripped-down, but also very much built around the voice of singer Joe Newman, and you still wouldn't get close to explaining it… And then there is this totally freakish cover of House Of The Rising Sun which is only recognisable from the lyrics, Alt-J having completely changed the melody… In short, like their countrymen Radiohead or, on the other side of the Atlantic, Animal Collective, Alt-J are on the march against business as usual, wrong-footing the world of pop at every turn. That's a hallmark that's perhaps clearer than ever on Relaxer… Finally, the cover art is a good guide as to what to expect: a still from LSD : Dream Simulator, a PlayStation game from 1998, which was pretty zany, with no real goal or mission, and populated by headless women, multicoloured giant plants and heads on legs. It was like a virtual LSD trip… © CM/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released May 25, 2017 | Infectious

Alternative & Indie - Released March 30, 2017 | Infectious

3WW

Alternative & Indie - Released March 6, 2017 | Infectious

Alternative & Indie - Released June 24, 2016 | Infectious