Alt-J have been an unusual act since they first started, from naming themselves after the key sequence for the capital delta symbol “∆” on forward. Their success took even them for a shock, leading them into non-stop touring & recording, only finally taking a break after something like five years. Reunited, RELAXER finds them as experimental and diverse as ever.
What’s on RELAXER? There are many stripped, intimate moments, which often get much bigger. Traditional “House of the Rising Sun” goes from storytelling to strings-led tragedy. “Last Year” is slow and haunting, but then “Hit Me Like That Snare” comes off as a punk-jangle akin to The Black Lips, and “In Cold Blood” is binary electronic rock. Closer “Pleader” maybe sums it up best, being a mix of quiet instrumental, old Anglo choral, and more.
Despite their success, alt-J have not lost their mystifying edge.