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Album Review: Relaxer by alt-J

Nayomi Santos, Senior Staff Writer

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For those who wonder what kind of name of a band is alt-J, the name originated from the Apple Mac key sequence where alt + J creates the symbol Δ or delta, which is used to indicate change or difference. Prior to this year’s album, the British band has two critically-acclaimed albums called An Awesome Wave and This is All Yours, I recommend you listen to them. Before I speak about the band’s most recent album, Relaxer, I want to talk about the first song I ever heard from them.

When I was 13, I listened to “Taro”, a lesser known song off An Awesome Wave. It was unlike any song I heard before, it seemed that they didn’t fit into a specific genre as they sampled from various; they still do. The song was about the death of two war photojournalists who were in love; though the song recounted a sad tale, I thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Now, five years later, alt-J is one of my favorite bands.

Though Relaxer doesn’t quite live up to the other two albums in my opinion, the band has certainly embraced a new yet also familiar sound. With tracks such as “3WW” (stands for “3 worn words” or “I love you”) and “Deadcrush” that explore the topic of love and lust, and “Adeline” which is strangely about a Tasmanian devil that fell in love with a woman, the band has certainly expanded their lyrics. Yet, they are notorious for ambiguous and confusing lyrics that take much insight to discover the meaning, such as the album’s “Pleader”.

In fact, I admit that as I listened to the newly released album, I would read the Genius Lyrics of many of the songs. Though my favorite album of theirs continues to be This is All Yours, I am certainly not disappointed with Relaxer. I highly recommend listening to the band, especially if you are searching for something new and different, they will not disappoint. I can’t wait to hear more of their music for years to come and (fingers-crossed!) see them live in the future.

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Album Review: Relaxer by alt-J