Written by Killian O’Neil
There is something to be said about when you listen to a record and each time it makes you feel differently.
Alt-J has skillfully done just that with their newest album, The Dream. If you don’t know who Alt-J is, they are a three-piece band from the United Kingdom, to be exact, which consists of Joe Newman on guitar and lead vocals, Thom Sonny Green on drums, and last, but not least, Gus Unger-Hamilton on keys. They have released three studio albums and this will be their fourth.
In addition, they are Grammy-nominated artists from their album, This Is All Yours, which debuted in 2014. Alt-J has no problem with creating music that requires listening rather than thinking as well and looking outside of the box. This musical trifecta has created their own lane and made sure they will never be pigeonholed, especially with The Dream.
Imagine tones of Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine, as well as Portugal. The Man and you kinda have an idea of how The Dream sounds with their indie-rock nature. Within this 12-track album, each and every song couldn’t be more different from the next.
At first, when listening to it, I was extremely confused and frustrated because none of it made sense. Listening to The Dream makes you feel like you did a ton of acid and the only thing you want to do was go lay in a field and roll around. Hell, at one point I felt like I was already in a field and I was the main character in Across The Universe who needed to do some psychedelics! Either way, I was extremely confused and baffled at the fact Alt-J didn’t sound like what I was picturing in my head. It took about two hours of intense listening to finally understand the album and how brilliant this record truly is.
Right off of the bat, you get drawn into “Bane” and at first, have no clue what the hell is happening until mid-way through you get sent some smooth sexy vocals that remind you just who you are listening to. Each song tells a tiny piece of a bigger story from start to finish. The album is clearly written about one thing but is left up for your own interpretation, which means Alt-J did their job.
As it plays on, you hear the story coming together with its poetic lyricism and groovy, yet dramatic melodies. This album is a magnificently written record with an underlying theme of dramatics sprinkled with groovy instruments and sounds. There isn’t just one song that stands out from the rest on this album. Each and every single song tells its own story exactly like it was intended to do.
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