alt-J – This Is All Yours

BRIEFLY ROCKED by the departure of reluctant tour guitarist Gwil Sainsbury, the now three-piece alt-J show no signs of suffering creative jitters on this assured and strange second album. Leading on from the odd, compelling barber-shop trip-hop of 2012’s An Awesome Wave, the trio stretch their idiosyncratic range to include spooked neo-R&B (the Miley Cyrus-sampling Hunger Of The Pine), head-nodding Odelay-era Beck sonic collages (Left Hand Free) and, most effective of all, spectral balladry in Choice Kingdom and Pusher. There’s lyrical playfulness throughout – not least singer Joe Newman’s desire in the lightly lascivious Every Other Freckle to “turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet”. It’s one of many indications here that you can never quite predict what’s around the turn with this highly intriguing and inventive outfit. Watch the video for “lightly lascivious” Every Other Freckle: