Alt-J review – woozy harmonies and fibre-optic fantasies

SEC Armadillo, Glasgow
The trio’s finicky electronic pop can feel like sonic morphine, but they can pack a polite punch when they bring out their bluesy side

No strangers to fermenting together disparate ingredients, it was probably only a matter of time before wonk-poppers Alt-J joined bands like Iron Maiden, Elbow and Hanson on the craft ale booze-wagon. For £3.50 a can, Scottish fans could sample their new liquid merch, a moreish 6.5% US-style IPA called Absolutely No Worries, although for a group who seem to embody the fractured, jittery experience of life in the 2010s, that insistently reassuring name seems almost certainly ironic.

But these are good times for the off-kilter Leeds trio, who won the Mercury in 2012 with their debut album An Awesome Wave and have quietly surfed upwards ever since. This short UK tour – coinciding with the release of Reduxer, a hip-hop-heavy remix record that enjoyably expands their slimline third album Relaxer – culminates with two special concerts at the Royal Albert Hall that will combine strategically deployed speaker pods and advanced sound-mix management for total musical immersion. For acolytes of their silky auditory topiary, experiencing Alt-J in 360-degree surround sound without headphones will surely be a heavenly gig; for non-believers, the thought of being bombarded with finicky folktronica no matter which direction you turn might sound more like a Black Mirror episode.

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