“Please don’t go, please don’t go, I love you so, I love you so…”
In winning the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2012 with its debut album An Awesome Wave, Alt-J, a quartet of university pals from Leeds, have already secured a place in the annals of British music history. And now the album’s first UK single, the thoroughly contemporary “Breezeblocks,” which was a minor hit in Blighty, is working its way through customs Stateside.
Based on the late Maurice Sendak’s children’s classic Where the Wild Things Are, the song starts innocently enough with tinkling toy pianos and singer Joe Newman’s nasally, but engrossing lead vocals (think Cage The Elephant’s swagger with a Jeff Buckley lilt). Then the wild rumpus gets going with a rumbling bass and layered, psych-soul harmonies that recall the weirdo menace of Modest Mouse.
“Breezeblocks” is the sound of a band assured of its ideas and sound. It feels more an opening salvo rather than the group’s lone clear shot.