The Avalanches: Wildflower (Astralwerks/Modular/XL/EMI) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, July 9th, 2020  

The Avalanches

Wildflower

Astralwerks/Modular/XL/EMI

Jul 12, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Sixteen years.

In the time it's taken Tony Di Blasi and Robbie Chater to follow up The Avalanches' sublime 2000 debut Since I Left You (released in 2001 in the U.S.) the world has somersaulted on its axis more than once. Politics, nations, terrorism, sport, travel, dating, and music have all transformed into massively magnified 2016 incarnations of what they used to be. Some are almost unrecognizable. Some are not.

So, how have these song stealing, turntabling, cut 'n' paste craftsmen modernized? Well, truth is, they haven't. Their sophomore LP, Wildflower, may pepper a fresh batch of corroborators into the mix, but the ingredients are essentially the same: a hopscotch of samples all patchworked together with exquisite precision.

Nothing here tugs the heartstrings quite like the opening notes of "Since I Left You"; nor does anything blow the mind like "Frontier Psychiatrist"'s lunatic beats. In fact, the album's first song proper, "Because I'm Me," doesn't even try; its boomboxing soul strut is enrapt to a jangling melody and the ebullient, loose lipped lines of Camp Lo.

This sort of oddball hippity-hoppity rears its head time and again. "Frankie Sinatra" jigs away as an old time calypso rhythm that ripples to the screwball cantos of Danny Brown and MF DOOM. Biz Markie makes a similarly loopy cameo as a cereal munching superhero during the kaleidoscopic whoosh of "The Noisy Eater," which includes a lacerated sample of The Beatles' "Come Together" (as performed by Kew High School).

There's a lot of silliness woven into these 21 cuts, but it actually helps its more sober moments to stand out. "Stepkids," for instance, is a bulbously textured lilt that shimmers to the coy, wide-eyed refrain of Royal Trux's Jennifer Herrema. Similarly, the delicious Toro Y Moi collaboration "If I Was a Folkstar" feels like a gorgeous desert island dream sequence emitting a chilled out Balearic vibe.­­

For all its sonic sponging, there's something unquestionably personal and alive about this recording. While Wildflower comprises many, many elements, ultimately, it's a testament to the craft and time it takes to build such a seamless and joyful record. All of a sudden, 16 years doesn't feel quite so long. (www.theavalanches.com)

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.