After a relatively successful 2012 and 2013, alt-J (∆) are back with some new material and one less member. The now three piece (much more fitting in my opinion seeing as it matches the number of sides of their logo) haven’t released any new studio material since their track Buffalo in 2012 and the first glimpse of their sophomore album has only been heard by those who saw them at festival season last year when they included a new track called Warm Foothills in their set. On the 9th of June alt-J (∆) revealed that their second album This Is All Yours will be released 22nd September and on the 18th of June Hunger Of The Pine was first played by everyone’s favourite New Zealander, you can judge if that’s sarcasm or not, Zane Lowe.
One thing you notice straight away that is different to their previous material is that Joe Newman’s vocals are much more easier to understand and you no longer find yourself having to listen again and again to actually know what he’s singing about. But, despite being able to hear him more clearly, the lyrics are still full of cryptic metaphors that I doubt even other members of the band understand. Hunger Of The Pine has the usual ‘Oooohs’ from Joe and the whole song still remains very minimalistic. However the track includes horns throughout that create a vibe that makes this whole song seem like a grand spectacle. Also the beat has a very hip hop feel to it that hasn’t ever been present in their work. They are still sticking to their less is more approach but are developing it and are taking it in a different direction. I love that they are doing this as it still remains the alt-J (∆) that we’ve all come to love yet they aren’t just bringing out new material that is a carbon copy of their debut An Awesome Wave.
Now for what everyone is talking about, Miley Cyrus is sampled in the track. None of us saw it coming and it could have been a huge mistake for alt-J (∆). Thankfully it pays off and the lyric ‘I’m a female rebel’ slots in nicely, even if it is a bit pointless.
Hunger Of The Pine then ends with some French lyrics, ‘Une immense espérance a traversé la terre, Une immense espérance a traversé ma peur’, that polish the track off nicely.
Overall alt-J (∆) have returned on form and continue to impress. The huge success of their debut doesn’t seem to have daunted them and they right on track to making an even better sophomore album. The 22nd of September couldn’t come any quicker.