Review: Relaxer by alt-J

Relaxer by alt-JThere’s not a lot of new things on Relaxer, the third album from alt-J. If anything, it feels a little more confident. You’ll have to observe keenly to figure that out, but there’s a feeling that their heads are raised a little higher and they’re not as, err, shy as it felt in the last two albums. In some places they’re pulling off tricks that don’t really, on paper, fit into their sound, the way This Is All Yours felt like an evolution towards warmer climes. And yet something seems off with this record. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it – but I get the sense they’re stuck in some sort of stasis. Yes, I said the last album was an evolution, but it’s like they went back to some awkward mix of warm and cold that don’t really gel in the grand scheme of things. They’re getting away with it, and yet they’re not getting away with it. It’s a weird record where you can’t quite decide whether it’s a good one or a confused one. I can’t decide. [NB]3/5

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