8 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontman Joe Newman describes his band’s third album as “a great landscape eliciting different emotional reactions.” It’s fabulously treacherous terrain, dotted with unpredictable twists, turns, and rabbit holes. Even the most immediate track—“Deadcrush,” simmering space-funk inspired by deceased objects of desire—is dazzlingly rich in ideas. The band’s ambition reaches towering peaks on “Pleader,” which samples Ely Cathedral’s choir and its heating system while snaking through gentle folk, dystopian discord, and symphonic majesty. A remarkable balance of invention and accessibility, Relaxer places alt-J in a lineage of great British rock innovators that stretches from Pink Floyd to Radiohead.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontman Joe Newman describes his band’s third album as “a great landscape eliciting different emotional reactions.” It’s fabulously treacherous terrain, dotted with unpredictable twists, turns, and rabbit holes. Even the most immediate track—“Deadcrush,” simmering space-funk inspired by deceased objects of desire—is dazzlingly rich in ideas. The band’s ambition reaches towering peaks on “Pleader,” which samples Ely Cathedral’s choir and its heating system while snaking through gentle folk, dystopian discord, and symphonic majesty. A remarkable balance of invention and accessibility, Relaxer places alt-J in a lineage of great British rock innovators that stretches from Pink Floyd to Radiohead.

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Customer Reviews

4 out of 5

212 Ratings

Garbage

Newkm0420,

These songs are about as good as the graphics on the cover. The songs are boring. An Awesome Wave was one of my favorite albums of all time but I am not a fan of their recent work.

It's crap

Durden512,

I was stoked when I found out this album was coming out!

After giving it a listen... I gotta say I'm really disappointed. I dislike this album because it seems like the record label gave Alt-J free reign to do whatever. I feel what we got was a self indulgent experimental album that the band made to aid in discovering themselves.

There's really very little I enjoy about this album. I feel cheated. Alt-J has made some great work in the past but this album is a regression in their art. I feel this album is something they would have made prior to "An Awesome Wave" in an attempt to build their notoriety. What we have here is a bland experiment that lacks the creativity or allure of "This is all yours" or "An Awesome Wave".

I'm sad cause I really like these guys and this album just doesn't deliver the same compelling product their previous art has yielded.

If you like this album as a whole, kudos to you. You see something I don't, but I pose you this question.... Is it a enjoyable representation of what you've come to love about Alt-J?

For me it's not. It's just experimental garbage.

About alt-J

English indie rockers Alt-J, named for the delta symbol that appears when pressing "Alt" and "J" on a Mac keyboard, first formed in 2008 under the moniker FILMS. The quartet members, all of whom met at Leeds University, spent two years rehearsing before inking a deal with Infectious Records in 2011. Their signature blend of layered, folk-inflected dub-pop and soaring alternative rock was first heard on the 2012 singles "Matilda" and "Fitzpleasure," with the group's full-length studio debut, An Awesome Wave, arriving later that year. The album would eventually go on to earn the prestigious Mercury Prize, alongside three Brit Award nominations. They soon became mainstays on the U.K. and European festival circuit, expanding outward with tours in the U.S. and Australia as well. The band's increasing success and heavy touring schedule eventually led to the amicable departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury at the end of 2013. The remaining trio of singer/guitarist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton, and drummer Thom Green continued undeterred, and their sophomore record, This Is All Yours, was issued in the autumn of 2014. Critically well-received, This Is All Yours debuted at number one in the U.K. and fared similarly well in Europe and the U.S., where they earned their first Grammy nomination. In early 2017, Alt-J issued a trio of singles, "3WW," "In Cold Blood," and "Adeline," in anticipation of the release of their third studio long-player, Relaxer, which dropped later that June. ~ Timothy Monger

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