Album Review: Alt-J – This is All Yours

After selling 300,000 copies of their debut album An Awesome Wave, Alt-J return with their sophomore effort: a cartoonish squiggle designed solely to allow music hacks to use the word “brainy”.

From the retrograde Black Keys pastiche ‘Left Hand Free’ – which doesn’t even have the bravery to be about wanking – to the unbearably pretentious ‘Arrival in Nara,’ ‘Nara,’ ‘Leaving Nara’ trilogy. This is All Yours is music for people who want to feel more clever and more alternative than they actually are. It’s pop music for Urban Outfitters; dickheads who think that a few sound collages hastily assembled on their Macbook makes them Radiohead or that covering Dr Dre is a sign of a wide-ranging music taste, not just a crass repurposing of a vibrant cultural movement for cheap laughs.

The Miley Cyrus sample on deathly dull single ‘Hunger of the Pine’ seems carefully positioned to generate Guardian think pieces and little else but it’s emblematic of Alt-J’s biggest problem: there’s nothing genuinely electrifying or subversive about This is All Yours. You can play it to your dad in the car or sip your fucking Starbucks along to it and it’ll be a perfectly pleasant soundtrack, but nothing exciting, erotic or full of life runs through the veins of this record.

[Max Sefton – @MaxSefton]

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