Published on February 27th, 2012 | by Lewis Donovan
Alt J – Matilda/Fitzpleasure
Today (Mon 27th Feb 2012) sees the much-anticipated release of Alt J‘s début double-A-side ‘Matilda / Fitzpleasure‘. The band have been hyped all over the place since being listed as ‘one to watch’ by pretty much everyone at the start of the year.
They appeared to come out of absolutely nowhere in the middle of last year when a few tracks (the most notable being ‘Breezeblocks‘) surfaced online, sending the blogosphere into a compete spin. Despite this, however, nobody else really seemed to pay the slightest bit of attention and very little airplay was received. Their distinctive sound (comprised of slow and soulful drawl, breaking into furiously fast-paced drum-driven drops, inspired by old-skool drum n bass and more recent incarnations such as dubstep) made them an instant underground hit, being spun by indie-club DJs up and down the country and by the end of the year, they had been mooted for big things.
So fast-forward two months and what do we have? Well, a minute or so in you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d been sent the wrong CD. ‘Matilda’ is a clear-cut change of pace from previous tracks, exploring the range that was promised by the slower elements in ‘Breezeblocks‘, but resisting the temptation on up the pace in the breaks. Crawling guitar thirds in the chorus are coupled with a constant but subtle keys track, laid behind a falsetto, almost choral vocal. The result is a surprisingly beautiful and emotionally evocative experience that successfully straddles the almost impossible combination of delicate, catchy and sincere.
It is nice to see that, even when staying away from the more fast-paced ‘club-friendly’ tracks, Alt J can still produce something more than worthy of radio, if perhaps a little light on lyrical content for a track of this kind (although what’s there is very intelligently written).
As soon as track two ‘Fitzpleasure‘ begins, you know that it is a different proposition entirely. You are greeted by an enormous backbeat, paired with bassy reverb-laden keys. This track is definitely for the indie-clubs and late-night radio. The periodic breaks provide a well-structured change of pace and allow for incredibly large drops when the wall of sound that forms the bulk of this track kicks in again. This track WILL get bodies moving and is a necessary tool in the belt of any DJ worth his salt. However, I can’t help but feeling some of the breaks may leave tipsy revellers somewhat disorientated. Nevertheless, an absolutely smashing track and is worth the price of the CD alone.
The sudden change of pace from the previous track (and, indeed, the stark contrast between the two tracks as a whole) appear to summarise the theme of this release. For me, ‘Matilda‘ and ‘Fitzpleasure‘ are a showcase of what Alt J are capable of. A statement of intent that justifies the hype they have silently endured and gives bloggers, radio pluggers and fans alike a taste of the range of sounds that these boys can produce.
BlagSound says: We love Alt J in a huge way – probably in an unhealthy way. It’s not rare to find a band with as broad a range of sounds. It is rare to find one that can cover all of those sounds so well. Alt J are clearly talented and deserve to leave a lasting mark on British music.
What’s your view? Let us know in the comments section below…