An Awesome Wave

An Awesome Wave

The beauty of alt-J's wacky debut album is its complete unpredictability—it is avant-garde pop built on geometric terms, funky grooves, and a cappella harmonies. Every song is completely different from the next: The clicking rhythms of atmospheric pop gem "Tessellate" give way to a tinkling toy piano on the urgent rock jam "Breezeblocks," while "Something Good" bounces along folk-pop riffs and "Fitzpleasure" sizzles atop an ominous bass buzz. It all weaves together masterfully, guided by Joe Newman's vocals, which vacillate between guttural and glorious.

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