The Avalanches return after sixteen years with new album Wildflower
Everyone has their favorite albums of all time. While there have been more influential artists and albums in the course of music history, if I had to pick only a few albums I could take to a desert island, you can be sure that The Avalanches Since I Left You would be one of them. Over the last decade and a half, there have been rumors that a follow-up was in the works. Just a few weeks ago, a clever video trailer was released teasing that something was brewing in the group’s camp and utilized some of those coming-soon quotes.
The magical mixtape formula that the group used to assemble their debut full length is again utilized for Wildflower. The Avalanches, which is now a trio consisting of Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi, and James Dela Cruz, have once again assembled thousands of samples to create a work greater than the sum of its parts. Aside from the samples, though, they brought along some guests as well like Toro y Moi, Danny Brown, MF Doom, Jonathan Donahue, Biz Markie, and Camp Lo just to name a handful.
Hip-hop plays an even more prominent role on Wildflower than its predecessor. Camp Lo, whose “Sparkle” was sampled on “Diners Only” from Since I Left You, get a full feature on “Because I’m Me” over a dusty soul sample that has strings galore mixed with some blaring horns. The sound is reminiscent of Blueprint-era Jay Z and should be listed to extremely loud. Biz Markie sounds revitalized (and hungry) on “The Noisy Eater,” Dallas duo A.Dd+ on “Live A Lifetime Love,” and Danny Brown on “The Wozard of Iz” which includes a beat, highlighted around the 1:18 mark in the album trailer referenced above, featuring an insane collage of samples. The lead single features Brown yet again and underground supervillain MF Doom over a tuba-infused beat and a maniacal verse that recalls early Dre and Eminem collaborations.
Other genres permeate the LP including beautiful “Harmony” with AM radio-infused stacked vocals over a beat that continues to build, the exuberant “Sunshine,” or the psychedelic pop of the Jonathan Donahue-assisted “Colours.” Toro y Moi lead the disco folk “If I Was a Folkstar,” and the disco narrative is further explored on “Subways.”
So is Wildflower all over the place? You betcha. But would it be an Avalanches record if it wasn’t? Organized chaos is their calling card, and they’re in a league of their own in being able to bring cohesion to such diverse sounds.
Collectors may want to note that a few exclusives of the vinyl edition exist. The first, which incredibly sold out in less than twelve hours, was an exclusive sleeve limited to 2000 units through Newbury Comics. The next is a red pressing on 2LP through record club service Vinyl Me Please. Additionally, the official Avalanches shop has some bundles that include a shirt, patch set, and poster alongside the format of your choice. Finally, a limited edition 45 will be carried at select independent shops for those who preorder the album, due July 8, on vinyl featuring the “Frankie Sinatra” on one side and the extended mix, only available in physical format on this 7-inch, on the other side.
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