Review: “This is All Yours” by alt-J


Parker Rechsteiner, Opinion Editor

“This Is All Yours,” the sophomore work from indie powerhouse alt-J might be the best album of the year. This long awaited follow up to 2012’s award-winning “An Awesome Wave” was well worth the wait, with every track digging deeper into the strange, addicting combination of noises that we’ve come to expect from the band that represents itself with the greek letter delta (∆).

The hype leading up to the album has been massive, with a series of artsy music videos accompanying singles riding the top of the iTunes charts. Some have been better than others; you’ll be happy to know that “Left Hand Free,” the uninspired radiobait that was released earlier this summer is by far the worst song on the album. Everybody gets one.

The other 52 minutes of the album is brilliance. “Yours” kicks off with a vocal intro, which sets a dreamy stage that is familiar to fans and no doubt surprising to new listeners. The British trio somehow manages to make a song with the lyrical complexity of a lullaby (see: la-la-la) interesting by way of harmony and suspense-building tones. The harmonies really shine on this album, especially on “Warm Foothills,” which pingpongs between registers in a manner that is deliciously disorienting. Like their previous work, this album continues the trend of having unexpected interludes, like the medieval sounding “Garden of England,” coming out of nowhere in true Shakespearean form with pan flute solos. Eventually we get to the final track, “Leaving Nara,” a sort of alarm clock signaling the end of the dream.

The best songs on the album, “Bloodflood Pt. II,” the band’s cover of Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day,” and “The Gospel of John Hurt,” spiritual successor to “Taro” on the first album, are incredible. Without insulting its stand out jams, “This Is All Yours” works best in its entirety. It is not an album you’ll want to skip around on. Just press play and listen.

With this album, alt-J has avoided the trap that many popular indie artists fall into; a sophomore slump. We see group after breakout group drop the ball with their second offering, leaving hungry fans to wonder whether or not the first album was actually something great, or just a fluke. The Pitchfork Curse, so to speak. We had reason to worry, especially after that single.

With “This Is All Yours,” it is clear that our fears were for nothing. Alt-J is sticking around. The maturity of their sound, along with the incredible fact that they sound like no one and no one sounds like them secures them a position at the royal table of indie rock for years to come.

Listen to “Left Hand Free:”