Relaxer – alt-J

Isn’t it tragically mundane to approach art with the same emotions and outlook time and time again? This piece fits here, put that there, and screw the lid on tight as if art is an assembly line pumping out nostalgic, bite-size morsels for the public to reminisce on until another comes out a few years down the road.

Now, some artists (even really great artists) can ride the wave of their niche for years, decades or more without getting stale, but hitting repeat or fitting art creation into a tried-and-true mold doesn’t always work for everyone. Ditching the past and solely looking forward isn’t necessarily the best approach either in certain situations, but what alt-J does on Relaxer is certainly exploring uncharted territory considering their catalog. Even for a group that’s relatively expansive, Relaxer takes that notion a bit farther. From casting a crew of blaring horns on “In Cold Blood”, adding an avant-garde twist to the folk classic, “House of the Rising Sun”, to a hip-hop-esque number with “Deadcrush”, Relaxer is undeniably the groups most ambitiously diverse effort to date. And as the characteristically black sheep of it’s forebears, “3WW” couldn’t be more of a peculiar song to kick off Relaxer. Dynamically falling with exquisite delicacy and rising to the top with a blasting chorus, “3WW” epitomizes the ebbs and flows of Relaxer and stands as one of the most unique songs ever released.