Home Read Albums Of The Week: Alt-J | The Dream

Albums Of The Week: Alt-J | The Dream

The British trio temper musical eccentricity with lyrical sincerity on their fourth LP.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Dream is an album where true crime-inspired stories and tales of Hollywood and the Chateau Marmont rub shoulders with some of the Alt-J’s more personal moments to date. Both beauty and darkness lay side by side — often seamlessly merging on the same track, a purposeful choice that pays dividends across the record. The band’s dazzling instrumentation has matured; there are still far-out moments, but now they are deployed with artful precision.

The Dream is an album of intrigue, beauty, and humanity — a coalescence of everything that has made Alt-J a global band with true staying power. The album was created after a period of rest for the band following their seismic world tour in support of previous record Relaxer, which saw them perform a global sold-out tour including shows at The Hollywood Bowl and the O2 (they had played Madison Square Garden for the previous album This Is All Yours). It is a record that is the sound of a band growing as songwriters and storytellers.

U&ME is a case in point: it is arguably Alt-J’s most beautiful and honest song to date, unfurling gracefully, with new elements being subtly folded into the mix until a euphoric breakdown cracks through the middle. Lead vocalist Joe Newman moves between blissful euphoria and artful restraint, telling a love story through snapshot memories, as the song channels the band’s unparalleled experimentation into a song that is underpinned with a raw sense of joy.

The track was written during various soundchecks across the globe, when the band got back to London and heard the recordings they knew it was one of their most dynamic recordings to date. Newman says, “It gathered momentum on its own, it was best to just get out of its way. We were just there.”

Elaborating on the meaning of U&ME, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton says, “It’s about being at a festival with your best friends, having a good time, togetherness, and the feeling in life that nothing could be any better than it is right now.”