Review Summary: Pretentious name for a solid band.
This past September, a band named ᐃ released an album in the US. Yes, ᐃ. By the way it’s pronounced “Alt-J” (the keystrokes to make a triangle symbol on a Mac). And if that doesn’t sound like some pretentious hipster trash music, I don’t know what does.
But don’t write them off as hipster trash just yet. ᐃ is a self proclaimed folk-tronica/trip-folk band formed by four guys who recently graduated from Leeds University. Their band name comes from the Greek letter Delta, which is used in mathematical equations to represent change. ᐃ is a relatively new name that came at a turning point from the band and was the third and final name after “Daljit Dhaliwal” and “Films.”
That being said, An Awesome Wave is very powerful album. The albums starts off with a gentle piano then guitars and drums kick in a very powerful spiral. “Tesselate,” the third track off the album, paints a picture of a Mexican standoff beautifully, “Three guns and one goes off, one's empty, one's not quick enough/One burn, one red, one grin/Search the graves while the camera spins.” The next song has an absolutely infectious chorus which references ideas from “Where The Wild Things Are:” “Please don’t go, I’ll eat you whole/I love you so/I love you so/I love you so.” “Something Good” is a beautiful song which lyrically depicts the picture of the death of a matador. In the song, “Matilda,” they reference the movie Leon: The professional’s final scene in which Leon sacrifices his life to let Matilda survive, ”put the grenade pin in your hand/so you understand who’s boss.”
When I first listened to An Awesome Wave I was pulled in by the music, but a mark of a good album is having both good music and quality lyrics, and An Awesome Wave has both. Vocalist Joe Newman sings in a hushed falsetto, and the band overall has a similar kind of sound to Radiohead, albeit with more emotion.
ᐃ may be the stupidest most contrived name you've ever heard, but they are good musicians. As hipster trash as you may still think they are, your musical year is not complete without dipping your toes into An Awesome Wave.