A review of the long-awaited sophomore album

By Scott Ison    Twitter-icon2@beatset

 

The fact that you are about to read this review is amazing. This is not because of my impressive writing ability (it doesn’t exist), but because the Avalanches are back, baby! Fans of the Australian electronic music group and plunderphonics maestros probably weren’t sure if the announcement of a follow-up to the 2000 album Since I Left You was even believable. How would they even be able to top a hit like their single Frontier Psychiatrist?


Throughout the sixteen years since their debut album, fans have been teased and taunted with the possibility of new music. Many began to give up hope entirely. I’ll even admit that I was one of them. The album was constantly in development hell. Any bit of news regarding new content seemed grim. Unfortunately, this is the problem with sample-heavy music. Securing the rights to the various samples that make up the Avalanches sound seemed to be the biggest hurdle to overcome. The fact that the group had also lost some members along the way didn’t keep hopes high.

And yet, here we are. It finally happened. The question remains, though: does it live up to the hype? Was it worth the wait? Is it fucking good or what?

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Cover of Wildflower (2016)

Yeah, it’s pretty fucking good. The opening tracks The Leaves Were Falling and Because I’m Me gently pull you in with that familiar signature sound of Since I Left You. Now that they have you in their warm embrace, Camp Lo‘s vocals come in and give you a taste of what to look forward to. These tracks are smoothly transitioned into their first single Frankie Sinatra. A vibrant and energetic song, Frankie Sinatra changes the tone in a great way. With guest vocals by Danny Brown and MF DOOM, you can be sure it’s going to be good. The music video to Frankie Sinatra is refreshing and delightfully weird, too.

Subways slides you right back into that classic Avalanches sound. The next few tracks could be described as cruising around a beautiful countryside in a classic 1950s convertible with the wind and warm sunshine washing your cares away. The good vibes keep coming with the title track Wildflower lulling you into a dreamscape of sound before a theremin helps to introduce one of my favorite tracks, Harmony. This song is not only soothing and buttery but also contains some familiar samples and melodies from Since I Left You that you might recognize. The nostalgia is palpable.

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What follows in the rest of the album is a genre-bending array of music that blends so well with that familiar Avalanches sound. Since I Left You was, to me, a journey of sorts. Wildflower is no different. Every track puts an image in your head. A location, a familiar face, a special time in your life. It’s almost impossible to feel any negative emotions when listening. Warm and comforting, Wildflower does not disappoint.

This album lived up to the hype as well as it possibly could. One might even say all the hype deflated long ago and what came was a pleasant surprise. Either way, let’s hope the next wait isn’t so long. If there’s any creative juice left in this group, I couldn’t stomach another sixteen years.

Rating: 5/5

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