“Breezeblocks” is the new single from art-rockers, alt-J (∆)’s debut album, “An Awesome Wave”, which has just been nominated for the Mercury Prize in the UK. The song, a tune driven by bass and keys, bears the unique alt-J sound, which is quite remarkable for a band that’s only just released its debut album. From vocalist, Joe Newman’s high soul cry and Thom Green’s refusal to drum with cymbals (a rule first born out of necessity, because he couldn’t fit a full drum kit the band’s first practice room), to Gwil Sainsbury ‘s sparse guitar sound and Gus Unger-Hamilton’s delicate key clunks, “Breezeblocks” proves to be aurally addictive.
The band has spent the past few months building up the accolades and international acclaim from fans and critics alike. They are currently nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize and their upcoming Australian tour sold out in just 3 minutes. In fact, Australian punters aren’t the only ones clambering for tickets. alt-J are playing sold out gigs in the USA, UK and all over Europe too.
The song is accompanied by a stunning music video in which a murder is depicted in reverse. Starting off with a girl submerged in a bath weighted down by a cinder block, the video unfolds (or rather folds) to reveal the shocking circumstances leading up to the murder. The clip, which requires multiple views in order for the viewer to fully understand, is the perfect visual accompaniment for the song.
alt-J (∆)’s name takes a little explaining. Pronounced “alt-J”, the delta sign is created when you hold down the alt key on your computer keyboard and punch “J”, providing your computer is a Mac and not a PC, that is. It’s more than an un-Google-able symbol that looks good on a T shirt, though. As guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury notes, “in mathematical equations it’s used to show change,” and the band’s relatively new name came at a turning point in their lives. The bands members met in 2007 at Leeds University where Gus was studying English Literature and the other three Fine Art.