Written by Jack Andrew Cribb
Hammer-ons, deep black deserts, journeys through the smoke of a strange bar where all lines of temporality has stopped, heavy sweet beats that tremble, relax, and sway like a tide; alt-J’s new track 3WW invokes all of these things.
It’s classic alt-J, which means it is effortlessly creative and varied, combining the heavy bass tones with the lighter guitar licks that permeate the dense fabric of sound like needle and thread. 3WW is a sultry mixture of contemporary lyrics, which detail a romantic/sexual encounter at midnight in a country field (‘Well, that smell of sex/ Good like burning wood’), and an almost ritualistic approach to soundscapes.
Vocalists Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton softly croon in the chorus ‘Oh, these three worn words/ Oh, let me whisper like the rubbing hands/ Of tourists in Verona/ I just want to love you in my own language’ which references the statue of Juliet in fair Verona, that tourists wish for love on. The final line of the chorus is the clincher, completely stalling the song in melodrama, yet it works, and is followed by a gloriously sweet little melody, which would feel completely at home in a cute Studio Ghibli film. Also appearing on the track is Ellie Rowsell, vocalist for the band Wolf Alice, who in 2015 released their album My Love Is Cool, to favourable reviews.
The track comes as the first single from alt-J’s upcoming third album, Relaxer, which is out on June 9th, and has been met with much anticipation. Since their debut album An Awesome Wave won them the Mercury Music Prize in 2012 and completely changed the indie music game, the band have gone from strength to awesome strength. Along with the release of 3WW, the band have also announced a world tour that begins in June, which you can see that dates for below.
3WW is exciting. It shows the band are still making creative and eclectic music, definitely upping the hype for Relaxer. ‘I just want to love you in my own language’, and I still can’t get over that little post-chorus melody.
06-16 London, England – O2 Arena
06-20 Zagreb, Croatia – INmusic Festival
06-23 Scheessel, Germany – Hurricane Festival
06-25 Neuhausen, Germany – Southside Festival
06-28 Piazza Castello, Ferrara, Italy – Bands Apart
07-01 St Gallen, Switzerland – St Gallen Open Air
07-02 Werchter, Belgium – Rock Werchter
07-06 Lisbon, Portugal – NOS Alive
07-07 Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – Mad Cool Festival
07-08 Trencin, Slovakia – Pohoda Festival
07-09 Cheshire, England – Bluedot
07-11 Dublin, Ireland – Trinity College
07-15 Cluj-Napoca, Romania – Electric Castle Festival
07-19 Ostrava, Czech Republic – Colours of Ostrava
07-20 Wiesen, Austria – Out of the Woods
07-23 Paris, France – Lollapalooza
07-27 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
07-28 Boston, MA – Blue Hill Bank Pavilion
07-29 New York, NY – Panorama Music & Arts Festival
08-01 Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion
08-03 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theater
08-04 St. Charles, IA – Hinterland Music Festival
08-07 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
08-09 Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium
08-13 Newquay, England – Boardmasters Festival
08-15 Budapest, Hungary – Sziget Festival
08-17 Trondheim, Norway – Pstereo
08-19 Lelystad, Netherlands – Lowlands
08-28 Kiev, Ukraine – Stereoplaza
08-30 Moscow, Russia – Stadium Live
08-31 St Petersburg, Russia – A2
09-02 Stockholm, Sweden – Popaganda