By Bess Pearson
This Is All Yours is the second and latest album from English-indie rocker trio alt-J. This most recent album has a much softer and more intimate feel than in the previous 2012 release, An Awesome Wave. The first song on the album, “Intro,” harkens back to the sound of songs like “Fitzpleasure,” but expands upon previous executions by adding more layers of sound and consequently, much more depth and interest to the songs.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of This Is All Yours is that songs do not rely solely on lyrics to invoke a feeling. Deep, electronic sounds and the repetition of certain words or phrases such as “I want every other freckle,” or “I’ve discovered a man like no other man” leave the listener conflicted with a sense of wholeness as well. The songs draw you in, fill you with emotion, and leave you wanting more. More words, more meaning, and less ambiguity. Arguably, this is the basis of what is so hauntingly beautiful about alt-J’s work.
The carrying on of themes can identify alt-J’s unique artistry and a song, creating what are not “singles” but instead one, cohesive work, known by many as a song-cycle. This song-cycle can be seen through the connection of “Arrival in Nara,” “Nara,” and “Leaving Nara.” All three songs refer to Nara, a city in Japan that acted as the capital city from the years 710 to 784 and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The songs that have gained most traction from the album have been those that have a sound that more-closely mirrors that of their first album, both “Left Hand Free” and “Every Other Freckle” have a much heavier, hard-hitting beat than softer singles like “Warm Foothills” and “Pusher.” If nothing else, This Is All Yours is a clear demonstration of the breadth, depth, and diversity the trio can bring to the table.
The uniqueness of each song combined with their profound ability to be brought together in one cohesive, recognizable work is the reason for the widespread-appeal of alt-J’s work from a marketing perspective. It’s a cool, new sound, but the lyrics boast a classic appeal with their timeless messages about love, addiction, and self-discovery. Make sure to head on over to Spotify to take a listen for yourself.