Alt-J + The Calm Blue Sea

So infrequently do albums go beyond a loose collection of ideas and move into the realm of meticulous magnum opus. So when British newcomers alt-J (∆) released their debut album An Awesome Wave in May they caused an international crisis of blown-off socks, peaking at #18 on UK charts. Active since 2007, the members of ∆ have truly taken the time to develop both content and aesthetics before dropping it like an anvil upon the unsuspecting world.

Singer and songwriter Joe Newman uses a peculiar vocal style to achieve dimly lit visions of literary characters in the realms of their own artistic construction. With a focus on muted indie rock guitar and misty dancy synths complemented by more classic sounding piano or folk rhythms depending on the tune, ∆ defies genres even as they improve them. With the depth of vision and potent demonstration of 21st century pop music, these guys will grow on you quick.

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Fans of the postyest of post-rock should read on and get excited. The Calm Blue Sea’s third release entitled Arrivals & Departures is just the magnanimous progressive-instrumentally focused album Killing Sasquatch has been searching for. Demonstrating the vast symphonic possibilities of the genre, The Calm Blue Sea finds a way to blend several instruments in perfect synergy, achieving phantasmagorical arrangements of emotional viscera, like a sudden hormonal mood-swing which causes you to feel elated at one moment then uncertain and isolated the next.

Their music isn’t available for streaming, but that’s good. Instead check out their accompanying live film series called Aberrations & Departures, where each of the 8 tracks are being performed and recorded at 8 unique locations of the band’s choosing. The editing is flawless and interesting, the band plays passionately and painstakingly, the locations are quirky, creating an entirely more descriptive idea of the band’s essence than typical live recordings and even some music videos. Have a listen and enjoy.


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