Alt-J – Matlida/Fitzpleasure

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In my opinion it’s been a good few months since something really really exciting has been released, something perhaps to give the cliquey new music stereotype a smack in the face. This single is the second official release from Alt-J, or , a band who pride themselves on unconventional harmonies, crooning vocals and intricate rhythms yet who would describe themselves modestly as “a bit cowboyish” in their style of songwriting. Whatever style it is, it is spectacular.

First track ‘Matilda’ introduces wistful lead singer Joe Newman and his truly individual voice selectively scattered over a driving snare. It’s very simple and restrained on first listen but steadily gets under your skin as the other harmonies cruise in and out to create what I could only describe as a lament.

Second song ‘Fitzpleasure’ is a real triumph. Very different from the previous track, it opens with a crushing electronic bass supported by a sort of off-beat running rhythm. The song then segways into a hazy collaboration of reverby guitars similar to something out of Everything Everything‘s arsenal. The remainder of the song manages to keep whirling and dropping unexpectedly in an intricate tangle of ideas and creativity which left me a little bit scared, nervous and excited.

Listening to these two tracks still gives me goosebumps and it’s not just me getting excited; Wild Beasts and Ghostpoet both love them and they’re touring together in the near future. They have recently done a BBC Introducing session and are being championed by the likes of Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe. This really is a must-listen, even if just to realise you hate it! However, it has to be said that are definitely ones to watch.

9/10

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