Eleven months ago I wrote a couple of sentences for The 405 on a new band from Leeds. A band I hadn’t seen live, and had only heard a few rough demos from, but who roused me enough to claim that “no act in Leeds excites me more, no act deserves more attention, and no act instills me with as much enthusiasm for new music in general as ∆”. Rest assured, that potential comes shining through in leaps and bounds on their debut full length, An Awesome Wave.
There’s something utterly charming about the delivery of every single note on An Awesome Wave, a heart-wrenching urgency; passive and aggressive in the same shallow breath. There’s elements of Wild Beast’s second album, Two Dancers, in here as well – coincidentally managed through that era by one of Alt-J’s loudest early supporters, Ash Kollakowski of Nation Of Shopkeepers/Beacons Festival. By late 2011 though Alt-J had left the north and relocated to Cambridge, not that these geographical locations hold as much of a sway on their music as you’d be inclined to think. Instead, the debut LP that emerged just over a year since they first hit the radar is fizzling with influences, sweeping in elements of a whole range of British groups without ever feeling messy or confused. That, is no mean feat.
Highlights? Hard to define, but ‘Tesselate’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’ stand out at least as singles, but isolating songs misses one of the main joys of the LP. In a digital age it’s arguably harder to create an album that can be, and is designed to be, listened to as a complete unit; but if anything that just exemplifies the completeness of An Awesome Wave. This is an album to be digested as a whole, a moment away from the world, to suit wherever life is throwing you. It’s a rare beast, a gorgeous pleasure to see finally blossom, and quite frankly, an utter delight.
Words: Liam Haynes
‘An Awesome Wave’ is out on Infectious Music now.