Under the spotlight… Alt-J – Left Hand Free
The Mercury Prize winning Alt-J returned in 2014 with This is All Yours, their second studio album. Left Hand Free features on the album and is one of the bands best songs to date. While the album as a whole is a masterpiece, this song is one of the standout performances. It manages to take the familiar Alt-J sound and take it in a new direction, being louder and more expressive than most of their other songs.
The drums are the most familiar element, retaining the familiar catchy Alt-J style of unusual patterns and snares and kick drums dominating. What’s new is the use of trumpets and a far more leading role for the electric guitar. The track as a whole feels more bright and upbeat than anything that’s come before. This makes the song feel fresh and shows how extensive the bands talents are. The vocals are also far more punchy, with Joe Newman almost shouting the chorus, rather than his usual subdued style of singing.
As a whole, this is easily one of their best songs, only rivalled by classics such as Breezeblocks and Tessellate. It takes the band in a different direction and still manages to be massively successful, proving that Alt-J are one of the best alternative acts around today.