Alt-J has gone through their fair share of backlash since their last Grammy-nominated album. The peak of the backlash might have been that infamous viral clip, in which two men munching rice takes create a perfect parody of an Alt-J song and call it “Put It In My Butt”. (You can watch it here if you are so inclined https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlBskd3IaNw). But this third album from Alt-J strays a bit from what fans might have been used to hearing but still has that Alt-J feel that is very authentically theirs. It might be a subtle clap-back to the backlash and haters with how ambitious this album feels. These eight songs are packed with a lot of little quirks that make each song feel more like a complete modern art piece. The album fulfills its name Relaxer in offering soothing synth, guitar, and harmonies. If you had to travel through space at night this would be the album to put on it. It
“3WW”, the opening track, has some surprising female vocals that add a nice melodic layer over the song. The third track is Alt-J’s cover of “House of the Rising Sun” it’s spacey feels makes it stand out from the many other covers that this song has gone through in the past years. It’s ambitious for how the style and mood of the songs changes. “Deadcrush” which comes fifth on the album, is arguable one of the best tracks on the album. The song is a melting pot of funk-synth and twisting layered vocals. It’s the song that hits closest to their last two albums in aesthetic sound, and makes Relaxer feel complete as an album. Another noteworthy song is “Adeline” with is subtle build in strings and vocals leaving a hauntingly peaceful feeling about it.
This is an album where you can take from it what you want. If you want to throw it on as back noise to a late night drive this album can become the soundtrack for that. But, if you want to study each song for its charms, spaciness, and mashing of genres you can do that as well. It offers a relaxing experience to both music lovers and music listeners.