After bursting onto the scene in 2012 with the stunning Mercury Award winning 'An Awesome Wave', Alt-J faced the ever possible 'second album syndrome' with their next release. While their debut brought a both intimate and overt arrangement of folk, electronica, indie and pop with high levels of emotion and so much character, album two 'This Is All Yours' had a lot to pull off; and, by the sound of lead single 'Hunger Of The Pine', it looks like it may have.
Starting out with slow electronic bleeps and Joe Newman's unmistakable strong but soothing vocals, this feels like a tamer change in direction for Alt-J. The synths flick between long distorted notes and more scattered, playful tones, giving a powerful contrast in sound. When the sample of Miley Cyrus' single '4x4' comes in (which sounds much more random on paper than on the actual song) the timing feels a little misplaced, but quickly absorbs into the rest of the track with her repetition of 'I'm a female rebel' alongside all the misty music.
Not once on the song is there a huge electronic explosion or a souring vocal, like what could've been heard on 'An Awesome Wave'. Alt-J appear to be taking a more relaxed approach to their music this time, with more emphasis on ambient electronica than their previous pop elements, but it works for them and certainly remains as something that their fans are likely to enjoy nonetheless. If the rest of 'This Is All Yours' is as impressive a feat, Alt-J have cemented their musical brilliance.
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