Alt-J are not that super-easy to like. Mostly because of Joe Newman, who is the singer and main songwriter of the band. His vocals could be described as a special blend of Daniel Johnston and Antony Hegarty, but the truth is he simply sounds like an unidentified cartoon character. It took me several listens to learn to appreciate the strange qualities of his singing, and to recognize how well it meshes with the strong textures of the surrounding arrangements.
Having such a distinct sound, it’s no wonder Alt-J stands out. But thankfully that’s not the only reason for the buzz. More important is the fact that they put an exceptionally mature and consistent collection of songs on their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’. Give it a few listens, it’s time well invested.