The Avalanches – Wildflower

Band hiatuses aren’t uncommon in the music industry, but the Avalanches have certainly kept fans waiting for a long time. What makes this one quite different from the norm is that the break has come between their successful first album and ‘Wildflower’; their second. A lot can change in 16 years and while their skill set may have improved, the sound certainly hasn’t changed all that much from ‘Since I Left You’ (now an album title with a hint of irony). But then if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

‘Wildflower’ serves up a collection of atmospheric and scintillating productions sampling beats, voices and sounds that come together to create a very entertaining experience. ‘Because I’m Me’ doesn’t hang around in showing us the fun with this style of music production. From the sampled R&B voice of a young boy from 50s, who gives the track its name, to the rap vocal of the verse layered on top of effective beats and instruments, the Avalanches appear to be back at what they do best.

[Wildflower] reminds us that albums are meant to be full-length listening experiences, rather than a candy box from which you only eat your favourites.

This album boasts a total of 21 tracks, although many serve as short and transitional pieces. The disco sound of ‘Going Home’, the ethereal ‘Zap! and the humorous title track all add their own element of creative diversity. Tracks like these are essential pieces of the overall experience and remind us that albums are meant to be full-length listening experiences, rather than a candy box from which you only eat your favourites.

What makes this type of album work is the strength of the longer tracks that the above interludes support. I think ‘Wildflower’ manages to just achieve this. The ridiculous and somewhat hilarious ‘Frankie Sinatra’ is very different from, say, ‘If I Was a Folkstar’ or ‘Harmony’ or my personal favourite ‘Saturday Night Inside Out’, but each of them stand as satisfactory productions.

 

By Will Hunt


Noteworthy Details

The Avalanches pick up where they left off
A lot of tracks but very little filler
Cleverly sampled with good humour

 

Rating

7/10


Have a look at the humorous video addressing the 16-year hiatus:

Listen to single ‘Subways’ below:


Tracklist
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 a Lifetime Love
13. Park Music
14. Livin’ Underwater (Is Somethin’ 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
22. Frankie Sinatra (Extended Mix)