∆ (alt-J)’s Relaxer, peeling the onion

iTunes categories alt-J’s new album ‘Relaxer’ as ‘Alternative’.

Δ (alt-J) is an indie rock band, one that our generation is proud to live through.

This album proves that alt-J will be remembered in the history of our future generations like Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, The Doors and many more.

Above all, ∆ will be remembered for creating their own genre, pushing the bar higher for generations of musicians to come.

How closely is the album art (and music videos) related to the music throughout the album?

Relaxer is like an onion, it has many, many layers to it, instrumentally, of course, but also lyrically. Through Relaxer, ∆ has painted multiple levels of dark, graphical landscapes.

It’s the musical equivalent of a John Biggers painting. Sounds bougy? Wait till you hear this album, see his paintings.

Click here and let the music play.


Neon, Neon, Neon

At first sound, this song appears to be the “Intro” to Relaxer. It’s so much more. The song starts with a steady beat and slow riff that instantly catch your attention, it’s neither happy, nor sad, just different.

Steady beats and slow riffs.

Relaxer is so 2017. It starts with 3 Worn Words (3WW) i.e., ‘I love you’, the most used set of words in history.

3WW sounds to be the tale of a wayward lad, a tale of wanderlust, not the 2017 #wanderlust though. The wanderlust our primal ancestors were born with, the sense of curiosity, adventure and the thrill of discovery and exploration.

Partly, 3WW is a love song, but not in our language.

Oh, these three worn words,

Oh, that we whisper

The song represents a journey, one resonating peace, like a Nu England hike. ∆’s character is clearly evident in their songs, especially in 3WW, esoteric. 3WW represents an innate human nature, one not exhibited by many, composure in demanding times. For all we know, the wayward lad’s horse was eaten alive by wolves.

Instrumentally and through pleasing choruses, the song lays the foundation for good vibes that follow through rest of the album. For those who really care, this song, through its lyrical depths, prepares for a dark ride. Don’t worry, the whole world’s dark!


The tale of a curious lad, a lad that keeps on going, writing his own destiny. The song exhibits hope, a journey, nature-tripping.

The ground to be his bed The sky his awning

The chorus exhibits a smooth blend of modern day and prehistoric Shakespearean gestures of romanticism.

Oh, these three worn words Oh, that we whisper Like the rubbing hands Of tourists in Verona I just want to love you in my own language

Again, ‘I just want to love you in my own language’ is classic alt-J, they have their own style, a familiarly fresh aura, full of surprises.

And obviously, the infamously fascinating words that everyone seems to be going crazy over. Frontman Newman does a subtle job talking about the smell of sex, good, like burning wood. The wood a corpse is made out of.

Concluding with Ellie’ Rowsell’s soul-seducing tones, taking the audible experience to the next well by questioning our lad’s virginity, and debating the involuntary nature of love.

Love is just a button we press.

Raghav Mathur·
11 min
19 cards

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