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THE AVALANCHES

In a collage of fuzz guitars, tuning radios, pitched up soul samples, pitched down exotica records, and a whole lot of background chatter, The Avalanches return after an unprecedented 16 year wait. Created by the band’s core duo - Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi – "Wildflower" is nothing less than The Beach Boys’ "Smile" reimagined in the Daisy Age - a mind-bending cartoon road movie that’s best viewed with closed eyes and an open mind. Unmistakeably the work of Australia's sample kings, "Wildflower" is a Technicolor kaleidoscope of everything great and groovy about music, blessed with the warm and dreamlike aesthetic we first fell in love with on the sublime "Since I Left You". A throwback to those halcyon days when artists made albums, as opposed to a couple of radio singles and eight tracks of filler, The Avalanches sophomore LP drifts from one track to the next, taking us on a tripped out tour of downtown Melbourne in the summer time.

Lead single "Frankie Sinatra" divided the critics on its initial release, making a marmite statement with its oddball calypso samples, oompah brass and unhinged lyrics from Danny Brown and MF DOOM. Here, nestled comfortably between the gorgeous summertime soul of "Because I'm Me" and the sampledelic disco of "Subways", the track makes perfect nonsense. The inner city synth pop of "If I Was A Folkstar" strolls through the sunshine like a laid back relative of Cut Copy's "Bright Like Neon Love", while the spectral "Colours", featuring some heavily treated vocals from Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue, is as dreamy and doped up as pop music gets. Elsewhere Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, Warren Ellis (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)  and Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick make cameos, as does Biz Markie on the light-hearted, full stomached old school hip hop of "Noisy Eater". The dusty sixties soul of "Harmony" leaps out the grooves in the middle of a succession of dreamy sketches (in a day-glo Dilla style) before the triple threat of "The Wozard Of Iz", "Over The Turnstyles" and "Sunshine" form the apex of an outstanding LP. "Kaleidoscopic Lovers" and "Stepkids" serve up a pair of pastoral love songs before the driving haze-gaze of "Saturday Night Inside Out" leads us off into the sunset with the widest smile of our lives. Against all odds and expectations, The Avalanches have done the impossible, following up an instant classic with a second album which is even better than the first. If we have to wait another sixteen years for the next one, at least we'll be waiting in the company of two flawless records. 


FORMAT INFORMATION

2xDeluxe LP Info: Deluxe quadruple gatefold sleeve, double 180g vinyl, poster.

Do you remember what you were doing fifteen years ago? I do. I was a fifteen year old kid from the burbs, spending my summer playing football and recreating WWF classics in the back yard while dressed like a nerdish Eminem (bleach blonde hair and everything). Then a wacky-ass radio track packed with film snippets and horse noises worked its way into my teenage brain and changed things for good. The Avalanches were insane, inspired and in full effect; following the 'horse song' ("Frontier Psychiatrist") with a soulful and swooning summer jam ("Since I Left You") which has played in my head ever since. Family Allowance firmly in hand I took my privilaged ass off to the Market Hall, picked up a CD copy of this album and spent the whole bus journey home feasting my eyes on the liner notes and sleeve artwork. As I hit the play button on my naff home stereo, I was whisked away Dorothy-style and taken on a head spinning journey through 50 years of popular music. Leaving the monochrome mundanity of Bolton behind, I soared through technicolour stage sets of paradise islands, Brooklyn block parties and countryside BBQs, Sci-Fi spectaculars and rewired romances as 3,500 samples were sticky taped together before my very ears. The plunderphonic sound of six men who spent their adolesence rummaging through the bargain bins of Melbourne's record shops, "Since I Left You" applies hip hop's cut'n'paste mentality to the full gamut of weird and wonderful pop, from exotica to erotica, disco and funk to lounge and psych. Unlike anything I'd ever heard before, and better than any imitators I've heard since, The Avalanches are truly in a class of their own.  


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