Nowadays, albums can be played free with the tap of your finger with applications like Spotify and Rdio, stripped from the internet with a click of a mouse and some are even placed in your library just for the heck of it—thanks U2.
However, some CDs are worth purchasing the old-fashioned way, and alt-J’s second studio album, “This is All Yours,” is surely one of them.
Alt-J, named after the triangle symbol made when pressing the “alt” and “J” keys on a Mac, is an English alternative quartet— headed by lead vocalist Joe Newman—which blurred genre lines with their award-winning first album, “An Awesome Wave,” under Infectious Records.
With the diverse, well-rounded and cleverly interwoven “This is All Yours,” those lines are completely eradicated. From the “Intro,” to the final bonus track, “Lovely Day,” listeners are in for a wild, gripping and sensational ride that they won’t see coming.
If someone looks at the lyrics of “Intro,” doubts may arise about alt-J’s sophomore venture—nearly half the song only contains the word, “La”—but they somehow make it work. With a blend of perfectly timed lyrics and African-style background music, it set a proper tone for which is a behooving launch pad into the 14-song album.
However, the oddly curse-laden second half of the song labels the entire album explicit when foul language is sparsely found in alt-J’s music. Also, the result unfortunately labels the entire album explicit, which may be off-putting to some.
Another strange usage of lyrics is found in the fourth track, “Every Other Freckle,” which has a sexual theme to it. Again, though, the pros outweigh the cons as it overwhelms the senses with thunderous drums, high-pitched vocals by Newman and an electronic underbelly that makes it possibly the catchiest song on the album.
On that note, tracks seven through may be the strongest of them all, starting with “Choice Kingdom.”
The haunting tune creeps and builds slowly with the help of Newman’s spine-tingling vocals and acoustic guitar. Soon after, bongos, piano and other drums are steadily mixed in. The combination makes for one breathtaking music experience.
Next up, “Hunger of the Pine” showcases Newman’s multi-faceted voice as well, as it’s surrounded by a mesmerizing mesh of brass, percussion and Miley Cyrus—yes, Miley Cyrus’ “4×4” is sampled to top it all off.
Track nine, “Warm Foothills,” splices in vocals from the band Bright Eyes to make an originally eloquent duet to the backdrop of acoustic strings. The smooth rhythmic folk feel is similar to artists like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men.
To top it all off, “Lovely Day” incorporates most of the elements of the 13 songs preceding it: entrancing vocals, a steady build and a blend of string and wind instruments to somehow make it all cohesive.
All-in-all, alt-J wraps up a multi-faceted, absorbing and diverse album as a gift for a variety of music lovers. What lies inside the gift wrap is a melting pot of alternative rock, folk, indie, dub-pop, progressive and electronic that share similarities with—but certainly not limited to—bands from The White Stripes and Wolfmother to Bon Iver and Coldplay.
So, what are you waiting for? “This is All Yours” was released on CD, iTunes and double-vinyl Sept. 22.
It is yours, after all, so take it.