A band that clearly have something but seem intent on undermining themselves. For a start, they named themselves “Alt-J”. Presumably there was some kind of bet that you can achieve success no matter what clunking inanity you choose to be known by. More importantly, the choice to give the album a compressed techno production feels somewhat forced, a sort of a priori decision to be unusual rather than an organic creative process that ended up that way. The drumming especially sounds so synthetic as to make no difference. And then in composition: on “Tesselate”, for example, one of the album’s strongest tracks, the slick montage of effects and characterful lyrics build up to a kind of drop: “let’s tessellate:” and then nothing happens, and not in a good way. Six bars of nothing. And what’s up with the guy’s voice? He can sing pleasantly enough so why does he choose to spend most of the time singing through his nose? A debut album of frustratingly dented promise.