If you want them to be, British experimental rock outfit ∆ (Alt-J) can be intellectual to the core. Either referring to the creation of the band’s name (“in mathematical equations it’s used to show change”) or a description of the posted song (“Fitzpleasure is based on a particular chapter in the Hubert Selby Jr. book Last Exit to Brooklyn titled ‘Tralala’”) – the band’s sentiments can come across as pretty standard Williamsburg-esque coffee shop tripe.
On a more inelegant level, their music is strikingly visceral, like a chorus of robot trees echoing the struggles of the earth. If that sounds like the kind of crocked-up bullshit description you’d expect to hear in reference to a dubstep track you might be right. Good thing there’s enough of that intellectual pretension to balance it all out. And the result is something delightfully raw and moving, like the feeling you got hearing Yeasayer for the first time.
∆ is a metaphor for change, indeed. You can catch them at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop on August 2nd with Wildcat! Wildcat! and Erika Spring. That’s one show not to be missed this year.