alt-J have just released an epic short film to accompany their new single “Pleader”, one of the multiple highlights from the trio’s Mercury Music Prize-shortlisted album of the year “Relaxer”.
The heartfelt track and fourth single from “Relaxer” is immediately distinctive for its heavenly vocal drama, provided by the massed voices of the boys of Ely Cathedral, and the cinematic film debuted today by NPR is as bold, surprising and beautiful as the song it accompanies.
Directed by award-winning director Isaiah Seret, whose work has been featured at the Los Angeles Film Festival and Art Basel Miami, the short stars Sophie Cookson (Gypsy, Kingsman) and Morgan Watkins (A Little Chaos, Suffragette) and was filmed in the Rhonda Valley in South Wales. The latest in an extensive list of uniquely creative, award winning videos by alt-J, the video for “Pleader”chronicles life from birth to death, with real birth footage lifted from an experimental film by Stan Brakhage from 1959 and apocalyptic moments fit for a disaster movie interspersed with shots of the glorious Welsh countryside, fitting as the track itself is inspired by Richard Llewlyn’s book How Green Was My Valley?
“When we set out to make a video for ‘Pleader’,” alt-J tell NPR. “Joe sent the following one line brief to director Isaiah Seret: “a Welsh mining love story; a tidal wave of earth.” What Isaiah came back with was an epic short film, inspired both by the song’s source material and Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice. A family must pit their desire to have a child against the knowledge that this would destroy their community. The hypnotic, hymnal quality of the song binds the video throughout, hinting at redemption while destruction takes place.”
Praise for “Relaxer”:
“extraordinarily beautiful” – Sunday Times Culture
“Deeply gorgeous… RELAXER dazzles and delights the ears” – 4*, Daily Telegraph
“a massive leap forward…a remarkable blend of English folk, electronic and garage rock” – 4*, Times
“40 minutes of music that builds a very modern wall of sound” – 4*, NME
“It’s the commitment to self-satisfaction that continues to serve alt-J so well” – 8/10, Loud & Quiet
“alt-J show no signs of blunting their edges on their third album” – 4*, Evening Standard
“There is nothing to skip, only repeat… RELAXER is a special album” – 4*, Q Magazine
Released 2 June, “Relazer” flew straight into the top 10 of the UK album chart ahead of a summer of international shows, including a headline show at London’s O2 Arena for the venue’s 10th birthday celebrations; headlining The Other Stage at Glastonbury Festival; and headline performances at Bluedot and Boardmasters.
“Relaxer” is the follow up to their number one, GRAMMY and BRIT Award-nominated album This Is All Yours, and their 2012 Mercury Prize and Ivor Novello Award-winning debut An Awesome Wave. Between them, the records have sold in excess of two million copies and their songs have been streamed more than one billion times. “Relaxer” is available now via Infectious Music in heavyweight vinyl, CD, cassette and digital formats.
Watch the video for “Pleader” here: