Verdict: 2 / 5
If the 70’s was Disco, 80’s was Rock, 90’s and 00’s were Pop; then it definitely seems to be that the 10’s are looking to be the decade of the indie bands. Indie here is standing for more a state of mind than any actual specific details of independent creation. But what I mean is that bands are experimenting, willing to take chances and create something deeply personal, outside of the usual commercial circuits. And when you have a band like ∆ (which is pronounced Alt-J, yes the name of their band is actually a symbol) they seem to definitely be following the trend in that area.
Alt-J is a British band, very fresh off the block, which are causing quite a stir around certain circles. This, their debut album is earning quite a bit of acclaim and nominations for awards. Certainly it may deserve them, being very full of interesting instrumental maneuvers and intriguing lyrics. Sadly though, I can’t really seem to see what the fuss is all about. All I’m able to see is a very hipster album, one where experimentations are done purely for the sake of being weird, where lyrics don’t make sense and if you question them, you just don’t get it, man, it’s too deep for you. It reminds me of an art gallery hosting a collection of artworks that are just one big blue square. Others may stand back and admire its artistic genius and pay millions of monies to own it, and then spend hours analysing the deeper meaning. But at the end of the day, it’s just a blue square. Like the Emperor’s new clothes all over again.
All of this would be fine, art, including music, is always a personal journey that I can’t put strict rules on. Except for one thing. The lead singer’s voice. Sweet merciful heavens it is the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard. I’m fully convinced it’s not his actual speaking voice, but its like one of those voices someone makes when they want to sound deliberately silly or stupidly high-pitched. Normally that voice lasts for one joke or story, and can be funny. But when it permeates an entire album, it makes me completely unable to enjoy what is sometimes quite nice music behind it.
Maybe I’m just too cynical. Maybe I really just don’t get it. But weird for the sake of weird has never done much for me. In the immortal words of Grampa Simpson: “I used to be with It, but then they changed what It was, and now whatever It is frightens and confuses me.”