Emerging in 2007 as a group of lads from Leeds, famously named after the mac keyboard shortcut, Alt-J graced our presence with their debut Mercury and Ivor Novello Award-winning ‘An Awesome Wave’ back in 2012. It was packed with wondrous hits accompanied by inquisitive, creative videos. But their new album ‘Relaxer’ is in a different league.
3WW is an idyllic invitation to Relaxer with particular resonance to Laura Marling with seemingly female vocals laced throughout. The to-ing and fro-ing of tempos is reminiscent of Hunger of the Pine where none other than Miley Cyrus surfaced with a bombshell sample. Here, Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell lends her voice for a beautifully implemented and heart-warming addition.
“Love is a button you press” launches you into synonymous harmonies and back into that classic Alt-J style, allowing each track to roll back to back effortlessly.
In Cold Blood is the festival pleaser that will be chanted by rabbles of teenagers at Glastonbury this year; it carries a regal feel, brass notes, but unmistakably Alt-J. Perseverance is key with Deadcrush and Last Year as their slower pace is grounding, with beautiful melancholic lyrics easing you through.
Ending on a high note, Pleader is an inglorious mix of ominous sound effects combined with intimate lyrics beckoning. Lacinh through acoustic string riffs and crashing vocals, it leads to a blinding climax for the eight impeccably produced tracks.
If you’re new to ALT-J, don’t feel the need to go back to the start. Start right here with these longer, lovingly created tracks. Relaxer showcases the highlights of ALT-J and their features that leave you smitten by classic guitar, hip-hop nods and distinct vocals. Best described as intimate; brash yet with a strong feeling that you’ve heard it before. Brand new but keeps you coming back for more.