FIB Album of the Week: RELAXER by alt-J

alt-J is the nerdy trio from the UK that brought us the indie sounds of ‘Left Hand Free’ and ‘Breezeblocks’.  Although their new album “Relaxer” has proved to be a massive leap from the boys’ previous works, you can still trust the dreaminess of the cinematic soundscape and the bizarre but wonderfully crafted nature of their sound.

Photo credit: The Independent

June is proving to be a big month for alt-J as ‘Relaxer’ jumps the ranks.  The album was officially released on the 2nd and listeners are calling it ‘weird’ and ‘glorious’.  They seemed to stray away from the familiar indie sounds of their 2014 album ‘This is All Yours’ and their Mercury Prize-winning debut ‘An Awesome Wave’.  But that’s what makes this album so exciting. 

alt-J talked about the album in an interview with NME last year:  “We’re very excited about it, I think it’s going to be pretty interesting.  I feel like it’ll be different, but I don’t know.  It’s funny – we write together so well and it comes pretty naturally and pretty quick, but I can’t predict it.  We write what we feel.”

‘Relaxer’ begins with ‘3WW’, a 5-minute beauty of slow beats and cool vocals that live up to the ‘relaxing’ theme of the album.  It was one of the first singles that the guys released in an attempt to show listeners what to expect from the album.  “In Cold Blood” was another that was released and had listeners crying for more. 

Album artwork. Photo credit: Alt-J

It’s safe to say that this particular track stayed true to the band’s indie roots yet managed to tap into a more dramatic side, emphasising big beats and a brass section that simply cannot be ignored.  It balances drama filled chorus’ and cinematic melodies with fragile beats and soft tones.  Predominantly though, the trio chose to stick to a more gentle sound for the album that highlights the instruments in their entirety.

The album features 8 tracks with 6 of those featuring a 30 piece string section.  The album was recorded in numerous locations around London, one of which being Abbey Road Studios where they took to Instagram to emphasise the enormity of the album’s development. 


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…and brass

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Great day

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The band are also planning an Australian tour that begins in London in mid-June and ending in December.  You can find out more about tickets and dates on the alt-J website. 

Listen here: