PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW - ALBUM OUT JUNE 2
It’s a mark of alt-J’s confidence and sense of musical self that they didn’t need to go the “traditional” third-album route (i.e. a year bouncing around the world’s most expensive studios, wrestling with writers’ block and newfound ayahuasca habits, with production by Mr Hotshot Hitmaker). They again bunkered in London, spending the latter portion of 2016 in a no-frills rehearsal space in Stoke Newington. Then they re-connected with producer Charlie Andrew. He is, the threesome avow, like the fourth member of alt-J.
“As much as there’s our chemistry,” notes Newman, “it’s about Charlie’s hard work as well.”
Between the end of last year and the beginning of February this year, the foursome moved between east London’s Strongroom, Brixton’s Iguana Studio (Andrew’s home base), north London’s The Church (owned by Paul Epworth) and history’s Abbey Road. The song ideas, mostly already worked out in the rehearsal space, flowed.
This is RELAXER: eight tracks, 40 minutes, focused and concise, both out-there and in-here. As Unger-Hamilton acknowledges: “We’ve always liked our music to be headphone music, that takes you on a bit of a journey. This album goes one step further, a journey into your own mind. It’s quite trippy – even though none of us are trippers,” he insists.
The album title, Green adds, felt apposite. “RELAXER was originally the name of a track I made last year, and then it was in the original lyrics for ‘Deadcrush’. And after that, it just seemed to fit the album overall – and we do always want our albums to be listened to as a single piece of music.”