The Perfect Continuation: Avalanches Review – Bookmans Entertainment
I remember the first time I heard of The Avalanches. It must have been 2003 because I was just starting to let my hair grow long. My dad was sitting at the computer talking to his Volkswagen buddies, ruminating and conversing about the intricacies between models and small details that the average person wouldn’t notice. When he wasn’t looking for parts or giving advice to newbies he would frequent the rant section of the imageboard. Someone must have posted a link to the video of Frontier Psychiatrist and my dad ended up liking it though he never listened to the rest of the album. He called me over and we watched it together and I was enamored. I had to see what else this group made.
I scourged and scraped, searched the internet until I came upon the video we had watched. He couldn’t remember anything about the video other than it was funny and that he liked it. I think I watched Frontier Psychologist six or seven times and soon after found the video to Since I Left You. I binge watched that as well. I bought a copy while we were in town, somewhat of a treat to someone who came from a small town. We didn’t have a record shop and the only music accessible was what was available at Walmart.
God, I loved that album. It flowed so well from one track to the next making the listening experience exactly that: an experience. It was so unlike the neatly defined, compartmentalized albums I had been listening to. It lacked the tired song structure and uninspiring lyricism. It felt like a comforting fever dream set to sound clips from decades past. Eventually I listened to it so often that I grew tired of it, setting it aside to come back to when I got fed up with whatever fad I was caught up in at the time.
Unsurprisingly, considering the amount of music they would have to listen to and sample, it took the Avalanches quite a long time to release their next album. We all waited, wondering when we could get our next fix. There would be some tantalizing new headline proclaiming that it would be soon, and man would our hearts flutter. It was like waiting for the next Team ICO release. Of course it would be great but every year was just another disappointment when it wasn’t there to soothe our aching ears.
Wildflower is the perfect perpetuation. It could easily be the second act to Since I Left You, infused with that wonderful cadence. I was as giddy as a child who’s just gotten a new toy, taking care to not damage the sleeve or the case as I cut into the shrink wrap. That’s right, I have a vinyl record of Wildflower and I got it at your local Bookmans (shameless plug, I know). The nostalgia was overbearing yet wonderful. I missed that sampling skill that they have, the ability to create an aural landscape from film clips and obscure music. It was especially funny to me that they happened to sample the radio skit from Queens of the Stone Ages album Songs for the Deaf. When I bought Since I Left You I had been getting a little tired of listening to QotSA. The Avalanches took their place, wresting QotSA from the fanboy throne in my head. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the last week. Soon I’ll be tired of it, but for now I can’t get enough.
If you’ve ever listened to their first album and thought that it would be great to rap to then you were darned right. They called upon some great artists ranging from MF Doom to Johnathan Donaghue, Joshua Tillman to rap duo A. Dd+ and many more. Biz Markie lends his voice to the albums sillier song “The Noisy Eater” while Danny Brown MF Doom spit lines among samples from Wilmouth Houdinis’ song “Bobby Sox Idol.” I both like and dislike “The Noisy Eater.” It stands out from the rest of the album, like a belch erupting from a special guest who’s normally dignified and stately. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the song, it’s funny and aloof, doesn’t take itself too seriously. It reminds me a lot of “Superfast Jellyfish” from the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. With that said, it’s the song I tend to skip in order to get back to the light footed, flowing quality that the rest of the album has.
I love this album and wholeheartedly suggest that you listen to it and Since I Left You at least once. Wildflower has a ton of great artists on it. I love that they pulled in artists to feature on this album. It takes the milky loveliness that is Avalanche-esque sampling and only adds to it. Not that they needed to add lyrics and singing, but they accentuate each other very well. If I were to grade this on a scale from 1 – 10 then I would give Wildflower a 8.5 or a 9.
Go pick you up a copy of Wildflower! You may even find it at a Bookmans near you (another shameless plug!), I did!
Written by Axel Gudenkauf, Customer Service Supervisor
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