Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. May 29, 2012
    Utterly compelling.
  2. May 25, 2012
    Young, yet somehow void of naivety. Vibrant, yet artistically matured.
  3. 80
    A brilliantly disquieting debut.
  4. May 30, 2012
    This debut offering is strong, addictive and enthralling, the perfect accompaniment to any mood, any moment, anywhere.
  5. May 30, 2012
    'Matilda' is superb, squirmy avant-pop, 'Tessellate' sports a pleasing, stuttering, polyrhythm, whilst 'Breezeblocks' skitters beneath multilayered vocals.
  6. Mar 13, 2013
    Alt-J crafts an ethereal ocean of sound that's remarkably cohesive-at once strange and familiar.
  7. This Leeds-to-Cambridge foursome's unhurried electro-mesh is always more than pleasant and half the time mildly enthralling.
  8. Nov 20, 2012
    An Awesome Wave washes over its beached listeners, pleasantly cooling them for a second, then making its retreat back into an ocean of sameness.
  9. Oct 17, 2012
    It's all very impressive (and pretty), but that doesn't necessarily mean it leaves much of an impression. [No. 992, p.52]
  10. Oct 12, 2012
    There's undeniably something new and intriguing going on here. [Jul 2012, p.95]
  11. Sep 28, 2012
    It's both overstuffed and messy, and so overworked that what life there may once have been now exists as a kind of primordial paste.
  12. Sep 28, 2012
    Alt-J's bizarre pop is ultimately rooted solidly in pathos, in a sort of blighted redemption. They favor cacophony for its ability to offset silence, enjoy spiraling out of control for its appreciation of the meticulous.
  13. Sep 24, 2012
    [Once An Awesome Wave] maintains a steady jog and never quite sprints into action... Nevertheless, a creative effort from this new band, Alt-J shows promise and proves they can create hauntingly catchy melodies from irregular rhythms.
  14. Sep 19, 2012
    You can see every angle and every side of the shape they've made. And the unimpeachable logic of each song, added to their odd tunefulness of the songs, makes them exciting to listen to.
  15. Sep 18, 2012
    Despite sounding more like Radiohead's wistful indie-pop nephews than the genuine article, alt-J are a group offering moderate experimentalism that'll serve as an effective gateway for younger fans.
  16. Aug 22, 2012
    It's uncommon for bands to achieve cohesiveness amidst such levels of quirk; on their debut, Alt-J have done much better than that. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.108]
  17. Aug 21, 2012
    Alt-J's wave is far more awesome when it's at its most schizophrenic.
  18. Jun 26, 2012
    The whole album is uncertain and unconvincing. [Jul 2012, p.94]
  19. Jun 26, 2012
    There are just enough love songs in there to keep it rock, just enough instrumentals to edge it back towards the cinematic, and more than the usual helping of skill to smooth off the edges and end up with a beautifully rounded, awesome debut album.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 163 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 6 out of 34
  1. Dec 23, 2012
    So underwhelming as to produce a soporific effect. The latest industry inside joke? ... Yes.

    Laura Snapes of Pitchfork said it all--
    'overstuffed and messy, and so overworked that what life there may once have been now exists as a kind of primordial paste.' Full Review »
  2. Dec 5, 2012
    Absolute drivel,; a mixture of whiney synth pop and mediocre melodia ....transient rock? get a grip do you even know what rock is? This is peurile. People love to give tags to things, "nerdy", "warbly", "insecure". No, this is silly voices, and whining over simple beats and "layering" is not a few chords. Jesus, is this what popular musis is becoming, different just for the sake of it with not even a nod to talent? X factor may be **** but at least it knows what it is, and winning a music prize does not make a band earth-shatteringly original or flawless. I guess i gave it 3 because a bit like Damien Hirst, they have fooled a lot of people who love to think they are all rather clever. If it were dinner i'd feed it to my dog. Full Review »
  3. khw
    Sep 20, 2012
    Simply first, I was hooked by only one or two songs (Tessellate & Something Good), but with each listen, I discover more depth and more to like. Full Review »