Alt-J 2012 Debut ‘An Awesome Wave’ Still the Band’s Best LP

Mia Roettger, Editor

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Making a splash into the music scene, English band Alt-J made their debut with their 2012 album titled An Awesome Wave. Combining a mix of vocals and a large variety of instruments, such as a toy drum, the album creates a new outlook on the indie rock music scene unlike that of any artist before.

Initially known as ∆, or the symbol for delta, the college mates later changed their name to Alt-J, which makes the symbol when typed into a Mac computer. Now only a faint image for the band, the symbol and meaning still finds its way into the heart of the group. For example, the album cover of An Awesome Wave contains a combination of images, one of which is the Bangladesh river Ganges Delta. Additionally, their song “Tesselate” uses the triangle symbol in the lyrics, saying: “Triangles are my favorite shape, three points where two lines meet.” While mainly shown in this album, the group continues to hide the symbol throughout newer albums, such as their newest album Relaxer, and their middle album This is All Yours.

Making Top 20 in the UK, An Awesome Wave is easily the band’s most popular and successful album, with hit songs such as “Breezeblocks,” “Matilda,” and “Tesselate.” Often difficult to understand, the lyrics are sometimes in different languages or said in strange order to hide meanings to their songs, often causing a struggle to uncover the story in the songs; however, this is part of what makes the songs so strange and incredible. In fact, some of the group’s more instrumental songs, such as “Intro” and “Interlude 2,” are less popular, possibly due to the lack of the unique vocals and the hidden storyline.

All in-all, An Awesome Wave contains a number of songs that mostly illustrate stories about different people or characters. Many of the songs, such as “Breezeblocks,” “Tesselate,” and “Something Good,” are about the struggles of relationships and love; however, in contrast to the painful storylines and lyrics, the songs are often upbeat to bring light to a dim shadow. Lyrics often focus on themes such as letting go. For example, in “Breezeblocks” the group sings, “Please don’t go, I love you so, Please break my heart.” The lyrics show how the narrator does not want the relationship to end, even though it is toxic, and he needs to let it go.

In conclusion, Alt-J’s debut album An Awesome Wave is a 4/5 due to the mix of vocals and interesting lyric choices. In addition, the band tackles a variety of genres and successfully combines them into one unique sound that is unheard of in today’s music scene.

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