The reason why I truly think both Pitchfork reviews of alt-J’s albums are a disaster is because they are filled with hatred. It’s not a normal “I don’t like this band” which would be acceptable, but it’s more like: “I WANT TO DESTROY THE CAREER OF THIS BAND BECAUSE THEY DON’T DESERVE TO EXIST”. The aggressiveness of the words is shocking. Not just in the latest review of This Is All Yours by Ian Cohen (I know that there is some disapproval of this writer), but Laura Snapes did exactly the same two years ago.
Both reviews mainly criticize this band because they aren’t innovative. Now, if alt-J would describe themselves as innovative or the new Radiohead — hey, by the way, I thought we had all forgotten about this comparison, but it’s still the main focus in Ian Cohen’s review —, it’d be comprehensible.But they don’t! And both writers recognize that!
Ian Cohen finished his review saying: “‘The next Radiohead’ remains Alt-J’s best hook, and they didn’t even come up with it.”, if they didn’t come up with it, why do you pay so much importance to it? Two years ago, Laura Snapes’ review started:
"It is a contradiction in terms that the band described by some as ‘the new Radiohead’ are prone to statements such as, ‘Part of the reason [the album] is accessible is because we don’t try to go out of the box or be innovative. We just try to play music we like to hear’".
The new review is just an update of Laura Snapes’ review: again, the Mercury prize is named as well as the comparison with Wild Beasts and Bombay Bicycle Club, and of course, the surprising and extremely undeserved popularity. I think that the only new thing that Ian Cohen wrote is a banalization of the lyrics — to say that This Is All Yours is just about sex is stupid.
I’m not a Pitchfork hater — you only need to read a couple of posts of mine to see the site quoted and I’m constantly using it as a reference to get to know new music—, but I’m surprised of the low quality of both reviews. I thought Laura Snapes’ review was an exception, but now I wonder how long this stubbornness against alt-J — or actually against what people say about alt-J — will last.