The Avalanches
Since I Left You


5.0
classic

Review

by Justin Swope USER (85 Reviews)
June 6th, 2013 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Since I Left You is a fantastically provocative slice of dance music that will leave you feeling strangely hypnotized.

Despite their wintry name, The Avalanches have willingly tied themselves to the wonderful sounds of summer. My first glorious exposure to Since I Left You felt like taking a vacation and traveling to an immaculate beach with sunny skies, a cool ocean breeze, jovial seagulls, and beautiful women. Of course, Since I Left You is much more than a day at the beach; it's an eccentric sojourn in a chaotic, yet compassionate milieu where love and confusion go hand in hand. With this frame of mind, The Avalanches turn dance music on its head with a shocking heap of samples which flourish in the presence of sheer intimacy.

The Avalanches draw their samples from numerous sources, ranging from many obscure and a few vaguely familiar sources. Hundreds upon hundreds of these sounds hover above the group's infectious rhythms, but they never interrupt the flow of the album. Rather, they benevolently guide the music to unanticipated and strangely majestic places. Some of these emerging segments of spirited impulse sound like happy accidents, yet many signify the group’s unmatched dexterity. The nimble beats that germinate beneath the fanciful arrangements of vocals, sound effects, and textures amount to incredibly memorable and amusing tracks.

Since I Left You is wildly experimental but balances its ventures into abstract pandemonium with a delightful pop sensibility that makes the entire record accessible and enormously rewarding. Songs like "Electricity", "Live at Dominoes", and "Etoh" burst with the animation and rapture that quickly form the LP's backbone. The record lends itself to a constant feeling of movement as the pursuit of affection and peace come to the forefront. "Little Journey" and "Flight Tonight" become emblematic of the album's prominent goal: escapism. Since I Left You boils down to that never-ending quest for happiness without knowing precisely what it is you want and how you will get it. Still, the images evoked by the album suggest that being engulfed in intense love and warmth is the real paradise.

Furthermore, The Avalanches amicably deliver some of the most blissful combinations of sounds in a highly zealous fashion. Ranging from the bleeps of manic gizmos to the galloping and whinnies of horses, the sounds on this LP are both astoundingly diverse and beautifully absurd. The production is sonically rich, and the record can periodically lull the listener to sleep with its tranquility and, without warning, grab the listener and open the ears to the sounds of collapse and mayhem. The best example of commotion that the album stirs up is "Frontier Psychiatrist", in which The Avalanches unload a playfully erratic barrage of vocal samples and instruments. The superb, detailed melody, decorated with unforgettable vocal hooks like "That boy needs therapy" and "You're a nut! You're crazy in the coconut", could have been conjured up in the mind of a madman, yet the song's progression is surprisingly focused and orchestral, soon giving way to a pleasant outro that brings the track to a tender close. The sounds unleashed by The Avalanches are indeed derivative, but their technique is impressively original.

Not all the tracks on this album are as perky at their cores and stick to more personal territory, such as "Two Hearts In 3/4 Time" and "Tonight". "Tonight" paints a picture of a lonely jazz club and bittersweet infatuation and, like several other songs on this album, feels as if it has been pulled from another time period. Since I Left You is timeless in that it draws influence from so many eras to the point that they smoothly converge into a single unit without fail. No matter what facet of music The Avalanches are toying with, the concepts of unrequited love and wishful thinking always permeate their visceral sonic interactions. The sense of longing comes full circle on "Close to You" as the group constantly nudges the listener closer to the dance floor. It never feels like The Avalanches are striving to blow the listener away or send the listener on an emotional tilt-a-whirl; instead they are simply aiming to entertain. Nevertheless, the record's evident humility makes the music all the more powerful. The agreeable sense of humor and the devotion to flow provide for a cohesive and lovely piece of dance music.

Ultimately, Since I Left You sounds like the musings of a scatterbrain searching for the beauty in life. When all is said it done, the album comes together as an overwhelmingly catchy one that can appeal to just about anyone. As a result, The Avalanches prove themselves to be proficient architects of pure sonic euphoria. Both complex and engaging, Since I Left You is a thinking man's dance album as well as a perfect paradigm of exuberant pop music. What's not to love?

Favorite Tracks:
Tonight
Close to You
Electricity
Frontier Psychiatrist
Little Journey



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user ratings (617)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2013


1650 Comments


Hell to the yeah! Did you know this was CMG's album of the decade? I think its a great pick.

Review is excellent, have a pos.

MeatSalad
June 6th 2013


14900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album

Digging: The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

jtswope
June 6th 2013


2430 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No I didn't know that but it's definitely one of my favorites also. Thanks!

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2013


1650 Comments


http://cokemachineglow.com/category/top-100-albums-of-the-2000s/?pg=10

Here, if you're interested in the writeup.

They have a great list, very singular. Plus Meadowlands is in the top ten, which is correct.

jtswope
June 6th 2013


2430 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Right on. I'll check it out.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2013


1650 Comments


You've never heard The Meadowlands?? Hold onto your ass.

oltnabrick
June 6th 2013


31274 Comments


gr8 album

Digging: Akys - Sugelti Juodakmiai

jtswope
June 6th 2013


2430 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've heard parts of Meadowlands, but I'll listen to the whole thing soon. I like CMG's list btw.

Sheaiskl
June 6th 2013


825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. Unreal album.

wabbit
June 6th 2013


7020 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best

Matski
June 6th 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Both this review and CMG with the #1 placement got it spot on. Top stuff.

jtswope
June 6th 2013


2430 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks bud. This never gets old.

Mordecai.
June 6th 2013


8281 Comments


These guys got so fucked over with copyright lawsuits. Great album though.

Kman418
June 6th 2013


11070 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah i was thinking how fucked over they must have been cause of all the samples a few nights ago lol

but yeah this album is godly

Digging: Panda Bear - Mr Noah

Sheaiskl
June 6th 2013


825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

copyright lawsuits?

I thought they had every sample cleared before release in order to avoid any of that shi

CK
June 6th 2013


4946 Comments


Too bad Deviant is on hiatus right now or else he'd be sucking your dick pretty hard.

Or maybe that's how he's spending his time off

jtswope
June 6th 2013


2430 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hmm I guess you'll never know...

IronGiant
February 22nd 2014


890 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this review was inspiration for mine, so thank you. excellent and thought-provoking review



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