8 Songs, 38 Minutes

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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

3.8 out of 5
247 Ratings

247 Ratings

reddkapp ,

Full album release

Finally got the full album release today, and well I just want to love it because it Alt-J but I just can't. 3 songs crushed it and took me to that instrumental world of wonderland with harmonies that tickle the mind, the others not so much.

Newkm0420 ,

Garbage

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.

jacobrice77 ,

A Special Album

Like last year's (excuse the irony) Bon Iver record, '22, A Million', this album is undoubtedly special. I've been awaiting this album's release eagerly since 3WW was first released, a song which after a couple listens I fell in love with. In Cold Blood, a song I adored the instant I heard it, only heightened my excitement. I love alt-J's last two records. I didn't fully appreciate 'This Is All Yours' until much later after its release, but 'An Awesome Wave' was a crucial part of the soundtrack to my life during my high school years. However, 'This Is All Yours' later became my favorite of the two, as it was as I soon realized, in my opinion of course, the better record.

Now we come to 'Relaxer' ('RELAXER'?). My taste in music has evolved and matured quite a bit since 'An Awesome Wave', and it would seem alt-J as a band has matured a great deal as well. As I said, the first two singles really amped up my expectations. I had a feeling this would be my favorite album of theirs. Is it? It's hard to say. After all, I've only listened to this album all the way through twice now, and it took a couple years for 'This Is All Yours' to surpass 'An Awesome Wave' as my favorite. More importantly though, this album, despite its brevity, is too complex to make solid judgments right off the bat. It'll take several more careful listens before I know fully where I stand on it. However, this is by far their most mature and experimental album yet. Sure, songs like In Cold Blood and 3WW sport elements of their previous work - even Adeline (the third and most recent single to be released) has a familiar sound to it. There is, however, a lot of growth and originality here. House of the Rising Sun, a reinvention of the original more than it is a cover, features perhaps the most gorgeous instrumentals of the band's entire music catalogue. Truly breathtaking, with heart-wrenching lyrical delivery to boot. Hit Me Like That Snare, despite being my personal least favorite on the album, is unlike anything the band has ever released. It plays like something a punk rock garage band would crank out, but there's certainly more to it. It's a song I have little to say about because I know my thoughts on it will develop further upon a closer listen. Deadcrush is just dope as hell. The beat coupled with the cartoonish falsetto makes for an infectious tune, and its composition is far more ambitious than any of their previous tracks bearing electronic resemblances. Adeline is a beautiful crescendo of warmth and strangeness. Last Year, the album's high point in my opinion, is perhaps the most beautifully written song in their catalogue. It also ranks among Warm Foothills as one of their most gorgeous compositions, generally speaking. Pleader is hard to describe. It's hard to pinpoint just what exactly this song is, but it's nothing if not a perfect closer to the album. It's truly experimental in every sense of the word. It's layered and complex, and like Hit Me Like That Snare, it'll take further listens to fully understand and appreciate.

Well, that's my two cents. Five stars because despite requiring several more listening sessions, I do love the album. I'd may even venture far enough to label it a masterpiece, but time, and further listening, will tell.

More By alt-J