Single Review: ‘In Cold Blood’ by alt-J

alt-J have stated that this latest single was something they “began writing in our Leeds days” – who’s to say that Joe Newman’s crooning about how “your G&T is empty” wasn’t inspired by a late night in LS6 spent drowning dissertation sorrows?

The band’s second offering from upcoming album Relaxer presents a striking contrast to the meditative ‘3WW’ released just a few weeks ago. Indeed, as the succeeding track to ‘3WW’ in the album’s running order, ‘In Cold Blood’ jump-starts into existence, announces itself in binary code, and shatters the relative serenity of the opening track.

It’s an untypically bombastic tune, with glitchy Casiotone and rousing horn sections constantly vying for attention over its running time. ‘In Cold Blood’ has a tone that is reminiscent of the mainstream favourite ‘Every Other Freckle’ from the band’s 2014 release This Is All Yours, though its potential as an equally popular festival anthem seems less certain due to its lack of a convincing hook.

Lyrically, the song is characteristically nonsensical but remains encouraging; where ‘3WW’ was at times unbearably awkward in its vocal intonation (look no further than the line about coastal erosion), ‘In Cold Blood’ feels self-assured in its simplicity.

‘In Cold Blood’ is an undeniably fun listen, which maintains the hype established by ‘3WW’.

Tom Paul

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