Mercury Prize-nominated album An Awesome Wave is as fresh, sophisticated & imaginative as any eternal UK music believer could ever hope for. The name of the band is ∆ but referred to as alt-J (which produces ∆ on the computer keyboard – go ahead try it!). What is intriguing with ∆ is its sound – a hybrid of folk, pop, electronica, dub and hip-hop and trip hop which works beyond a music scholars wildest wet dreams.
There are a couple of constants that keep the music grounded – Joe Newman’s dub-inflected vocals, Thom Green’s distinctive snare driven hip hop rhythm and an insatiable creativity. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks on An Awesome Wave is still strictly ‘indie pop’ in modern day parlance but keeps a healthy distance from the ‘post-punk revivalists’ and especially that ubiquitous tedious disco beat.
Suffice to say that the album is a must-listen from start to finish to fully appreciate the length and breadth of ∆’s achievement. However, I will highlight outstanding gems like the infectiously staccato minimalism of “Something Good”, the sweet fragility of “MS”, the stridently invigorating slow-burning throb that is “Tessellate” (‘Triangles are my favourite shape’), the mutant disco of “Fitzpleasure” and the bent folk of “Matilda”.
An Awesome Wave will be released in the USA on September 18th. The entire album is streaming now. Enjoy…