Together, Thom, Gwil, Joe, and Gus use guitar, vocals, keyboard and drums to make music. The foursome met at Leeds Uni in 2007, and from student dormroom jamming, the band and its members have grown, creating and producing a new exciting sound.
They make a mix of electronic, soulful and folk music, carefully layered and knitted together to make unique tracks. There are hints of Bombay Bicycle vocals, dashes of electro synths, and the simple steady Mumford & Sons rhythm which somehow make complicated tracks, easy listening.
Describing Alt-J is difficult. Each song sounds like something else. Some tracks are dark, featuring dub, others feature playful bells and accapella harmonies. There are Indian vibes scattered across some songs, and the sound of classical orchestral strings in others. For me however, it’s singer Joe Newman’s voice that defines Alt-J. It’s soulful, versatile and rich.
After changing name from ‘Daljit Dhaliwal’, then ‘Films’, ‘Alt-J’ has finally stuck. Alt-J itself is apparently used in mathematical equations to show change. Whether this change means a ‘turning point in their lives’, or represents the change they add to current music, Alt-J’s tracks are full of change from one track to the next.
Let’s hope they don’t change too much.