Music, OldVenue

Review: This Is All Yours by Alt-J

Alt-J’s new album is an intricate and entrancing work of indie-rock. Following on nicely from their first album, there are clear defining links from one to the next that make the transition between them smooth and painless. Bloodflood II, the second part of the mesmerising track from the first album, is a prime example of this. Alt-J themselves have come out and said it’s their favourite off the album – and it is wonderful.

From someone who works in a perfumery, the best possible, and very banal, way to describe Alt-J is this: Alt-J are like a fine fragrance, both albums have the same base notes that make them distinctly similar, but the heart of each is a bit different. This is especially true for Left Hand Free, which is a different perfume entirely. In fact, it’s not even a perfume, it’s a deep woody aftershave with blasts of rock and hints of Rolling Stones inspired bass notes. And yes, it’s almost certainly about masturbation.

One thing that stands out is how This Is All Yours is definitively dark – and much more openly than their first album, which in itself was pretty creepy but in a much more subtle way. This being said, all you need to do is look into the lyrics of Fitzpleasure to discover the very sinister inspiration behind it.

Whatever you do, do not let a stranger catch you singing Every Other Freckle aloud, it would not go down well. Lyrics like “I want to turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet”, make this album inherently creepier than the first. Who even licks the inside of a crisp packet anyway? Though, that’s a different issue entirely.

As live performers, Alt-J are self-effacing but convincing, standing in a democratic horizontal line so that the drummer soaks up just as much of the crowd glory. One can’t help but think they don’t know exactly how brilliant they are. In the same respect, one can’t believe that this is the group that come up with lyrics like, “I want to be every lever you pull, and all showers that shower you”. It’s no wonder that Radio 1 cut out the entire first verse of Every Other Freckle. Their other single, Hunger of the Pine, is tamer, reading more like an irregularly- formed poem than a chart hit, broken up with the vocal talents of Miley Cyrus. This band is wonderfully unpredictable.

Over thirteen tracks you are pulled into a growing concern and an overwhelming sense of thoughtfulness, becoming so involved in the lyrics you feel like a third year literature student trying to understand Othello. In summary, This Is All Yours is an artistic, weird and slightly twisted album. And my God it’s good.


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Zoe Jones

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September 2021
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