Alt-J’s second album, This Is All Yours, is not your typical 21st century, radio friendly album. Rather, it is a contradiction in terms. Sounding more like an idea and a feeling rather than your conventional songwriting, the album is a gift to the weary; a breathe of fresh air that takes, along with the dust and the leaves, the more tiring odes to the drugs, clubs and thugs themes that dominate mainstream radio playback today.
When listening to This Is All Yours, we are presented with a more intimate look-in than the trio has previously permitted. Given to us as a collection, beginning with Intro and ending with Leaving Nara, can, at first glance, be disorienting. Known for their unique use of hooks, harmonies, Miley Cyrus’ disembodied vocal declarations and most importantly technology, Alt-J hand to us a memoir, an experience and a moment. With lyrics such as ‘I want to turn you inside out / and lick you like a crisp packet’ and ‘hey shady baby / I’m hot / like the prodigal son’, its easy to begin thinking that you have no idea what they are talking about, and the music is unrelatable. But TIAY is given as an exercise and requires effort and time before it reveals it’s secrets.
Like the true computer nerds they really are, Alt J have succeeded in making This Is All Yours a technological maze to hide a more personal secret. A combination of layering and interesting uses of vocabulary, the real meaning of the album is shrouded in all sorts of hints and tricks to sway the listener. It is easy to get caught up in the catchy bass line of Left Hand Free, the harmonies and collaboration in Warm Foothills, and get freaked out by the previously mentioned declarations of Cyrus’ ‘I’m a female rebel’, but to do so would be letting the men down. Like a maths puzzle, or some trigonometry, the shapes and colours that create This Is All Yours are, in the end, simple equations that form one answer; one which you feel foolish when you realize. This is all Yours is an ode to the beauty within simplicity, and the simplicity within beauty; as well as simultaneously highlighting the transformational powers of music, and lastly celebrating that one person who will not leave the fringes of our mind. Beside the unrealistic lyrics within the album are some beautiful, simple sweet nothings: “I tie my life to your balloon and let it go.” In the end, its just another album about love – but one that doesn’t make you feel tired or disappointed upon its realization.