This Is All Yours

Hunger Of The Pine,” our first preview of alt-J’s sophomore effort This Is All Yours, was a relatively progressive musical gesture — an eerie slow-build that climaxed with the awkward yet oddly effective deployment of a Miley Cyrus sample. “Left Hand Free” is the second song they’ve released from the album (and the first official single, because that’s how album roll-outs seem to work these days), and it veers so far in the opposite direction that you might mistake it for something on classic rock radio. Listen to it below.

The Guardian reveals how this unlikely song came about:

Not everyone was so thrilled about Hunger Of The Pine. Another hazard of success is that the suits start sticking their oars in, and Alt-J’s American label didn’t view the song as a “big single”, apparently ignoring the fact that An Awesome Wave did pretty well without one. Hackles (mildly) raised, Alt-J resolved to write “the least Alt-J song ever”, taking a “joke riff” Joe had been playing in rehearsals and fleshing it out with the most perfunctory chords and rhythm imaginable. Whereas the band typically spend weeks agonising over every note, Left Hand Free was written “in about 20 minutes”. Needless to say, the US label loved it.

Thom: “I tried to make the drums as cliched as possible, there’s none of my personality in it.”

Gus: “I’m doing some kind of organ solo. I don’t know where ’baby’ came from.”

Joe: “And I say, ’Gee whizz,’ which I’m not sure is a phrase I’ve ever uttered before. I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with Good Riddance To Bin Laden stickers!”

“Oh God…” says Gus, a worrying realisation dawning. “Someone’s going to walk onstage to it at an NRA convention.”

In truth, Left Hand Free sounds rather more like Odelay-era Beck than Ted Nugent, but it’s undeniably catchy. If it turns Alt-J into accidental one-hit wonders in the red states, then they’re ready for it. Kind of.

“Let’s see if it becomes a hit first,” cautions Gus. “We might be no-hit wonders.”

This Is All Yours is out 9/23 via Canvasback/Infectious. Pre-order it here.

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Comments (20)
  1. dg15  |   Posted on Jul 7th +2

    woah, i was not expecting that. this is shaping up to be a very interesting album. pretty pumped.

  2. Huh, this could end up as a masterpiece or a terrible mess of an album. Either way, credit for trying out new things!

  3. kb310  |   Posted on Jul 7th +18

    Jack White’s gonna be pissed about this one

  4. that cover art is lookin pretty dope too

  5. The first album had quite a variety of sound. So far this one seems even more varied.

  6. jack white-baiting, for sure. i was hoping this was gonna be more along the lines of hunger of the pine, this is kinda bad really.

  7. kings of leon, is that you?

    • Interestingly enough, KoL might actually have some influence on alt-J. Wiki says the band met at Leeds University in 2007, which would have made them somewhere around 14-16 when Youth and Young Manhood came out and KoL were absolutely massive in the UK.

  8. I dig it, pretty groovy stuff. And I have to admit the conservative in me thinks it’s kind of heartwarming to see them, of all bands, embrace guitars a little bit more.

  9. Good song. And Jack White can eat a turd if he’s got beef with this. He hardly has dominion of over the genre of alterna-blues-rock.

  10. After “Hunger of the Pine”, this seems a bit too safe. It’s a nice sense of diversity that the album will have…this is just a nice, fine song that follows up an absolutely crazy song.

    • Whereas the band typically spend weeks agonising over every note, Left Hand Free was written “in about 20 minutes”. Needless to say, the US label loved it.

      Thom: “I tried to make the drums as cliched as possible, there’s none of my personality in it.”

      Gus: “I’m doing some kind of organ solo. I don’t know where ‘baby’ came from.”

      Joe: “And I say, ‘Gee whizz,’ which I’m not sure is a phrase I’ve ever uttered before. I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with Good Riddance To Bin Laden stickers!”

      “Oh God…” says Gus, a worrying realisation dawning. “Someone’s going to walk onstage to it at an NRA convention.”

  11. When’s Control-Z’s new song coming out?

  12. …Alt-J?

  13. These assholes. Let’s step back from praising the C-students of alt-rock, because it’s such a noxious fucking pose. “We had 10 spots on our album, and we’ve wasted one on a song we couldn’t care less about, that we made as a goof. PUSH IT TO THE TOP OF THE CHARTS!” This makes me understand how people who hated Pavement back in the day must have felt except, of course, that Pavement made brilliant music.

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