I know for many of you out there (many many many many…as in millions) are not unfamiliar with Alt-J. If you are, take this time to dive down the rabbit hole of their incredible intricate, truly eccentric, unfathomably exquisite, take on music-making. Maybe I haven’t heard enough music yet to say this but I have felt since the moment I stopped dead in my tracks in heard “Fitzpleasure” the first time June of 2012, that no one out there sounded like them. No one. When describing Alt-J, I can’t use other bands to describe their sound because I don’t think they sound like anyone else. I fell for them before I even knew how clever and full of secrets their music and lyrics were. After purchasing their debut album, ‘An Awesome Wave,’ I read every word of their lyrics that were so generously printed on the inside cover of their vinyl and figured out their was much more packed into each song than I had ever thought. In listening to ‘This is All Yours’ over and over again after it’s release I picked up on so many little secrets tucked into their songs that I had missed on first listen. What sparked me wanting to put this in my blog was that another secret was revealed to me over the weekend. I was watching “Spaceballs”…yes, “Spaceballs.” And, there is a silly segment that is a parody of the movie “Alien” where and alien bursts out of the character from “Alien”, Kane’s, chest. This is precisely what happens in “Alien” but in “Spaceballs”, the alien does a tap dance after bursting from Kane’s chest. The credits for “Spaceballs” started rolling and the first name to pop up was John Hurt. John Hurt was Kane in “Alien” AND in the “Spaceballs” parody of “Alien.” Then, I remembered “The Gospel of John Hurt”, the Alt-J song off of their newest album. I looked up the lyrics and surely enough they mention “..Oh somewhere to fit in, alien” and then over and over and over again “Chest bursts like John Hurt.” Maybe this is obvious to everyone else…but I just adore figuring these little things out and each time I listen to Alt-J, it’s different because I pick up on some other detail.
Another favorite of mine is in “Every Other Freckle.” It’s a brief tribute to the late Lou Reed. At about 1:30 in the song they say “Lou Lou let the Cover Girls Sing: do do….etc” which harks back to the Lou Reed song “Walk on the Wild Side” in which he says “And the colored girls go: do do….etc.”
One final favorite of mine is a tiny insertion of a classic KRS-One song, “Sound of da Police.” Listen closely to “Bloodflood Part II.” At 1:18 they say “That’s the sound of the police” and sing what sirens would sound like if one were to sing them.
Go back and revisit your Alt-J collection and see what you can find.