alt-J (∆) – “Tesselate”


Often here at The Swill Merchants we like something so much we actually forget to post it; we’re too busy listening to the album. Such is the case with today’s artist, alt-J, which all of us have been infatuated with since their album dropped in the UK back in May. I could read you a text conversation between Dres and I chronicling how crushed we were when the album was removed from Spotify, presumably to wait for its Sept. 18 U.S. release.

With that introduction, it’s safe to say I like the whole album. It’s impressively versatile and eclectic yet all parts of the same whole: an album that defines a band’s sound while giving them room to grow in any direction they see fit.

“Tesselate,” one of my favorites off the album, is reminiscent of Radiohead in its schizophrenic percussion and brooding yet soothing vocals. I can picture Thom Yorke busting some dance moves to this track. Of the song, the band’s Soundcloud page states, “Tessellate is about the lingering of an old flame and the physical intimacy shared with that particular individual.” The lyrics “Triangles are my favorite shape / Three points where two lines meet” make up the chorus, highlighting the self-stated theme while also touching on the image of a triangle — something else important to the band.

The band’s name, alt-J, is actually the command keys needed to make a delta/triangle shape on a Mac computer (∆). Clearly, the image resonated with the band, and the song is a highlight on an overall fantastic album. “Fitzpleasure” stands out as the album’s most energetic track, while “Taro,” the last track on the album, sounds Eastern-inspired and almost orchestral in its chorus. There’s something for everyone.

Alt-J stops by the Bootleg theater in LA on September 29. Be sure you’re there, too.


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