Beloved English Ingie Rock band alt-J have announced their eagerly-awaited fourth album, The Dream, set for release early next year. The band's extremely catchy revelatory new single, "U&ME," is out now with a companion music video. "U&ME" was produced by long-time collaborator, Charlie Andrew, and is the band's first new music since their acclaimed third album, RELAXER, released in 2017, and its accompanying 2018 Hip-Hop remix album, REDUXER. Directed by band member Gus Unger-Hamilton's brother, Prosper Unger-Hamilton, "U&ME"'s video is the first ever to feature the full band. It's an evocative video that recalls summer memories and was inspired by frontman Joe Newman's experiences at a festival in Melbourne, Australia. The Dream is an album wherein True Crime-inspired stories and tales of Hollywood & The Chateau Marmont rub shoulders with some of the band's more personal moments to date.
Both beauty and darkness lay side-by-side—often, seamlessly merging on the same track, a purposeful choice that plays out well dividends across the album. alt-J's dazzling instrumentation has matured; there are still far-out moments, but, now, they are deployed with artful precision. The Dream is an album of intrigue, beauty, and humanity—a coalescence of everything that has made alt-J a global band with true staying power. It is a record that is the sound of a band growing as song-writers and story-tellers. "U&ME" is a strong case in point: it's, arguably, alt-J's most beautiful and honest song to date, unfurling gracefully with new elements being subtly folded into the mix until a euphoric breakdown cracks through the middle. Newman moves between blissful euphoria and artful restraint, telling a love story through snapshot memories, as the song channels the band's unparalleled experimentation into a song that is underpinned with a raw sense of joy.
The track was written during various soundchecks across the globe, when the band got back to London and heard the recordings, they knew it was one of their most dynamic recordings to date. Speaking on the song-making process, Joe Newman says, "it gathered momentum on its own, it was best to just get out of its way. We were just there." Elaborating on the meaning of "U&ME," Gus Unger-Hamilton explains, "it's about being at a festival with your best friends, having a good time, togetherness, and the feeling in life that nothing could be any better than it is right now." The band has announced the first leg of their world tour with their most extensive ever North American run to date with Portugal. The Man. The tour sees them play arenas across The United States & Canada in 2022. Joining them on tour are Sir Chloe & Cherry Glazerr. "U&ME" is now available on streaming services. alt-J's The Dream is out 2/11/22 on Canvasback/Infectious Music.