After the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick famously said that if you understood the film completely, then he failed.
So, with that in mind, here’s the thing about Alt-j: even if you get it, you feel like there’s something you’re not getting. You have to suspend disbelief a little bit, like you’re watching New Girl. A key difference: Alt-j doesn’t suck. Seriously, I hate that show. You have to swallow the vomit and suspend disbelief that Zooey Dickchannel hasn’t been slapped.
It’s weird and it’s out there, it’s strange and it’s fucking brilliant. The lyrics are so poetic, each line clearly labored over and packed with open-ended meaning. The instrumentals swell up and envelop, but not in an overwhelming way. It’s an embrace, not a grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-fucking-shake-you type scenario.
Of course, you can’t talk about alt-j without fawning over Joe Newman’s vocals. He’s incredible, simultaneously haunting and intoxicating. He can slip from a small sad whisper to an energetic swell in such a natural way.
Even the music videos are amazing (see above).
For me, it’s sort of like popping a Xanax or getting a massage. Press my headphones into my ears and melt. It’s my writing music, whether I’m whipping up a blog post or sitting down to write a 2,000 word article for a newspaper. It’s the type of tunes that make you stop and sway from time to time, eyes closed and mind blank beyond this beautiful shit flowing through you.
Anyway. I can wax poetic about these lovely men for hours or days or years. They released a new album yesterday (guess what I’m listening to). I highly, highly recommend it.