There’s been a recent trend for alternative bands and artists to shift their sound towards a genre that is vastly different to their original sound – this could be in the form of remixes, album reworks or guest features.
In the build up to the first ever National Album Day on 13th October, we’re going to look at 3 specific examples of when this has recently happened, and how it progresses the band’s sound as well as the genre and industry it finds itself in.
Flume, an Australian producer and musician, usually only focuses on electronic music. His debut album ‘Flume’ (2012), was released with a deluxe edition which was a replica of the original album just with the inclusion of some of the best hip-hop artists around. “Insane”, which adds a hard-hitting rap by Killer Mike is one of its highlights alongside. “Space Cadet”, with lyrics by Ghostface Killah, is another momentous song. It could be seen as a stand-alone rap mix-tape, but it almost acts as an extension of the oringal album and opens the musician to an alternative fan base.
Mr Jukes is similar, but strays even further away from his original sound. Mr Jukes is Jack Steadman, the lead singer of the alternative band Bombay Bicycle Club, and completely shifts his sound that’s full of guitars and riffs to a jazzier offering in ‘God’s First’ (2017). Artists such as, BJ the Chicago Kid, Lalah Hathaway, De La Soul and the late great Charles Bradley are all sampled on the soul album. The album comes in the wake of an indefinite hiatus by Bombay Bicycle Club, but this funky piece of work still strikes similar collaborative chords with the amount of different artists that are featured on it.
Alt-J have released the most recent example that showcases a band’s shift in sound. ‘Reduxer,’ (2018) Alt-J reworking ‘Relaxer’s’ (2017) 11 original tracks with the inclusion of talent like Pusha-T, Danny Brown, Twin Shadow, Goldlink, Rejjie Snow, and The Alchemist. Not only is the original album re-worked, a couple of songs are repeated in ‘Reduxer’ but are re-mixed by different artists. In some aspects, it feels like the content is being stretched, but a couple of the songs are so different and ground-breaking that they are outstanding songs in their own rights.
Can you think of any other bands that have gone down an alternative musical path? Were they successful?
If you haven’t listened to some of the above, we highly recommend that you do!