In the brother album of the 2017 ‘RELAXER’, alt-J recruit the likes of Pusha T, Goldlink and Little Simz to expand their repertoire into the world of Hip-Hop. There’s always been strong Hip-Hop influences in alt-J’s work but now they’ve have fully embraced it and have created a gritty rival of ‘RELAXER’ that packs a whole lot more of a punch.
We are treated to two different versions of ‘3WW’, ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Hit me Like that snare’ – this emphasises the imagination and production skill alt-J possess. They can seamlessly transform a track into something completely different – this is apparent for the whole album really. In one version of ‘3WW’ we are treated by the talent of Pusha T: his performance and the arrangement of the track give it a similar energy to as if it were a live set. The overdriven guitar and vocal parts give the track a desirable bite – one of which stands out within the album. The heavily produced vocal hook supplied by alt-J is very recognisable -consisting of a similar vocal style to one presented in ‘Interlude I’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’ from alt-J’s debut. Even though it’s so recognisable it fits seamlessly into it’s new Hip-Hop surroundings, only being enhanced by Pusha T. It sounds as if this track could have been originally written for this re-work.
Despite going in a new route alt-J have maintained some core aspects: they continue to use unusual vocal phrasing with quirky lyrics. Engulfed by ambient percussion: a perfect homage to the obscure rhythms and sounds alt-J use but in parallel with strong and heavy Hip-Hop snares and kicks.
This album gives a new audience a chance to experience the wonderful world of Hip-Hop. Fans of alt-J will give the album a listen regardless of genre – even more so if they are familiar with the content of ‘RELAXER’. Any album that entices you into a new genre, one you may not necessarily listen to, is on for a winner.