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Review: "3WW" - Alt-j

by Aaron Cerbone - News Editor
Tue, Mar 7th 2017 05:00 pm

Alt-j is back! On Monday,  Mar. 6, the English indie-rock trio released its first official music since 2014 with the single "3WW". The spacious and smooth song comes from their upcoming album "Relaxer" and points to the band continuing the same characteristics that made its other albums so popular.

"3WW" carries many similarities to the groups previous work while expanding into new territory as well. The band does not really have a new sound and does not seem to be "evolving" like many artists traditionally do. "3WW" could easily have been on "This is All Yours" but it does not sound derivative. Alt-j has such an eclectic sound they do not have to evolve the bands image, it just has to keep creating more music.

As a band, Alt-j does things differently. Whether the band members: John Newman, Thom Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton are writing several songs about movies they like, using electrical tape to produce a certain sound with an electric guitar or singing in extreme, hushed falsetto, the band has a unique and beautiful approach to song-making. "3WW" assures fans that they have not changed their unique style and will still be creating soothing, and character-driven music.

"3WW" which features Ellie Rowsell of the band Wolf Alice, tells the story of a man on a journey through England looking for love in the wrong places. The wandering verses focus on the man's actions while the first-person chorus reveals his thoughts and desires. 

The song tells of the man's sexual journey on his travels and how he can not find what he wants "3WW" refers to the "three worn words" the man mentions in the chorus, "I love you." He compares these words to, "the rubbing hands of tourists in Verona." As usual, Alt-j's lyrics require a bit of investigation and/or art history knowledge. This line refers to the statue of Juliet in Verona, Italy which has superstition that rubbing the statue's breast brings good luck in romance. The statue and superstition are so famous that the statue is worn down and discolored. The words, "I love you" are so worn down to the man, he laments, "I just want to love you in my own language."

He wishes to say an old thing in a new way. Even the title "3WW" says "I love you" in a new way and the story of the man takes a look at love and relationships in a new way. 

Alt-j excels at doing things in new ways, "3WW" is another example of how their songs are different in lyrics and tone. I cannot wait to see what else will be released on "Relaxer"!