alt-J, “This Is All Yours”

alt-J_this-is-all-yoursalt-J
This Is All Yours
INFECTIOUS/ATLANTIC
4/10

alt-J’s follow-up to their 2012 Mercury Prize–winning An Awesome Wave is…well, not so awesome. Where to start is difficult, as the beginning of the album, too, is tough to pinpoint. “Intro,” is offered, though it seems less of a song and more representative of an unnecessary flex of the band’s weirdo manifesto. “Arrival in Nara”…arrives, only the second track, and also qualifies as an intro—the first entry in a twelve-minute, three-song cycle on the record. “Every Other Freckle” is a memorable standout thanks to the annoying lyric, “I’m gonna bed into you like a cat beds into a beanbag / Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.” There’s a song called “Bloodflood, pt II.” There is no “pt. I,” of course. “Warm Foothills,” what could have been a sweet success, is ultimately distracting due to four guests—Conor Oberst, Lianne La Havas, Sivu, and Marika Hackman—singing bits and pieces of each lyrical line alongside alt-J frontman Joe Newman. In an album of such bits and pieces—intros, outros, and interludes—the results are frustratingly similar to finger painting; there are large swaths of brilliants sounds and textures all over This Is All Yours, but when smeared and messed into one another, colors turn ugly and dull quickly.

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