Hunger of the Pine – alt-j (∆)


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.

Alt-j. Right.

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.

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