Despite the departure of founding member Gwil Sainsbury eighteen months later, they still managed to maintain their momentum and kept the great reviews coming on second album This Is All Yours. Their third album, Relaxer, saw their critical standing cool slightly, but they still managed to pick up a Mercury Prize nomination and subsequently release a companion record - Reduxer - that gave the whole album a hip-hop inspired makeover and managed to come out sounding almost as good as the original. Their sound - a hybrid of smooth MOR and jagged indie rock - has remained steadfast and commercially appealing throughout, with many of their songs finding second lives on popular soundtracks from FIFA to Sons of Anarchy to Marvel blockbusters ("Left Hand Free" was Spider-Man's personal theme music in Captain America: Civil War).
alt-J are a bit like Marmite, aren’t they? We either love them or hate them. Maybe you're in Camp A, still confused by a band who'd name themselves after the Mac shortcut for triangle. Maybe you're in Camp B, having had the privilege of being lured across a field by a rare and unusual sound, more years ago than you'd care to admit. Thrown aimlessly into the arms of alt-J, floating on the wrong side of too much alcohol as the ethereal vocals surrounded them and somehow, it all clicked into place and you just kinda… got it.
alt-J have always been a curious crossover phenomenon. A band named after a keyboard shortcut, their wonk-pop melodies match the cerebral against the gloriously simple. Deliriously awkward, the three-piece refuse to use a simple answer, continually side-stepping the expectations placed in their way. 'The Dream' is their first album project in five years, and it's a work of impressive subtlety, one that refuses to hem in their pop impulses while also sketching out new pathways.