The Avalanches – Wildflower (2016): Review

avalanches

Produced by Robbie Chater & Tony Di Blasi
Label Astralwerks

Sixteen years in the making, The Avalanches sophomore collection comes as a surprising and enjoyable continuum of the promise created by 2000s “Since I Left You”. Whilst the anticipation has been temporarily filled by similar northern hemisphere acts like Gorillaz and The Go! Team, the Melbourne deck manipulators, sample archaeologists and bizarre pop practitioners still have a place in the hearts for those wonderful moments of the new century including “Frontier Psychiatrist” and the title track. “Wildflower” feels like a natural follow up, a timeless journey that shines like a never ending summer, with beach sounds, laughing, seagulls squawking, blending into electronic beats, myriad samples and guest appearances from Father John Misty, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, David Berman, MF Doom and Biz Markie. For mainstays Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, it must be a considerably painstaking task in compiling and assembling the patchwork of vocal and musical samples into recognizable songs that feel like nostalgic field recordings polished up to twinkle like any pop gem.

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From the euphoric “Because I’m Me”, the disco funk of “Subways”, and the psychedelic calypso of “Frankie Sinatra” (complete with “The Sound Of Music” sample) , it’s a dizzying start that’s tempered by the serene instrumental “Colours”, which builds to climax with sweet vocal additions from Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue. What makes “Wildflower” such a compulsive record is that it can be enjoyed as a horizon filling album long trip, or by randomly zooming in on the snatches of individual intrigue to jolt the senses. TV and radio samples introduce the listener to the ridiculously catchy Biz Markie fronted “The Noisy Eater”, which contains a tribute to The Beach Boys “Vege-Tables” and a Paul McCartney sanctioned kids choir singing “Come Together”.

The trippy touches, the playful, carefree, yet densely filled arrangements make for a powerfully intoxicating journey, that brings back instant smiles and a feeling that life ain’t bad after all.

9/10

Track Listing
1 – The Leaves Were Falling
2 – Because I’m Me
3 – Frankie Sinatra
4 – Subways
5 – Going Home
6 – If I Was A Folkstar
7 – Colours
8 – Zap!
9 – The Noisy Eater
10 – Wildflower
11 – Harmony
12 – Live In A Lifetime Love
13 – Park Music
14 – Livin’ Underwater (Is Something Wild)
15 – The Wozard Of Iz
16 – Over The Turnstiles
17 – Sunshine
18 – Light Up
19 – Kaleidoscopic Lovers
20 – Stepkids
21 – Saturday Night Inside Out

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