If the English trio’s intentions were to ‘out alt-J’ themselves, they have succeeded – immerse yourself in 40 minutes of a meticulously curated, effortlessly poised soundscape, thanks to these supremely talented aural architects.
Before you even have a chance to notice, you’ll be half way through RELAXER. – the record begins with the subtle hypnotism of opener 3WW, then comes the rousing, ever-building brass climax of In Cold Blood, and it’s followed by the painstaking detail of House Of The Rising Sun. The latter, made famous in 1964 by The Animals, is hardly a cover – the original has been torn down and rebuilt from its desperate core with the help of a 20-piece symphony.
The Bee Gees-esque falsetto on the electro-gothic Deadcrush will leave you short of breath singing along; thankfully low-key number Adeline follows it. Not often do records peak in their final moments, but like a hike up a densely jagged mountain range, the album’s zenith appears in its conclusion – the concise and crushing crescendo of finale Pleader.
RELAXER is out June 2 via Liberation.
Read our interview with alt-J’s Thom Green.