Alt-J’s 2012 album, An Awesome Wave, washed over (most) anyone who gave it a chance, and transfixed them in a universe with references to Spike Jonze’s, Where the Wild Things Are, Luc Besson’s, Leon: The Professional, and much more.
They’re auteurs in their field, and seemed obsessed by the idea of working together. So when it was announced earlier this year that guitarist/bassist, Gwil Sainsbury had left the group, it was difficult to imagine them coming back with another album. Just last month they could announce, This is All Yours, with a release date in September.
This week they premiered the first single from the upcoming album on BBC Radio, called, Hunger of the Pine. The response has been mixed, to nobodies surprise. With a sample from Miley Cyrus’ 4×4 – singing, “I’m a female rebel” – as Gus-Unger Hamilton’s keyboard presents an electronic wave of joy, accompanied by the somewhat distorted vocals of Joe Newman.
It feels much more like a solo-project, than a full fledged band exercise, but even still, a fantastic solo-project. It’s not hard to notice the missing link, but even though they’ve lost Sainsbury, their sound is still intact. Alt-J makes music you should sit down and listen to, with a great sound system. Laptop speakers can’t – and will never – capture the deep and atmospheric sounds they produce, and Hunger of the Pine shares this with An Awesome Wave.