The Avalanches
Wildflower


3.5
great

Review

by SandwichBubble USER (10 Reviews)
July 5th, 2016 | 197 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Every moment we're together makes me hope it lasts forever

Folks, it’s been a long time.

The Avalanches are an Australian plunderphonics group formed in 1997. Their first, and thought to be their last, album Since I left You was a critical and commercial success when it was released in 2000. Many consider it the best album of that decade, certainly of that year.

And now, almost 16 years after the fact, we finally have our follow-up record. Not an EP or a live album, but a true successor to their landmark debut. The 21-track, 58-minute long Wildflower. Wildflower (much like its predecessor) has a “one-continuous-song” flow to it, with each sample meshing with the next, and each track leading perfectly into each other. While I would recommend a full, uninterrupted listening experience, you can listen to the songs individually and still get some form of enjoyment out of them.

After a brief prelude with “The Leaves Were Falling,” the album kicks off with the anthemic “Because I’m Me,” an ear-gasmic opener that is a perfect example of what the Avalanches are known for: Sample-laden electronic music that makes you want to get up and groove. Sadly, the main trouble with this album manages to sneak its way here, and that's the feature by hip-hop duo Camp Lo. Now, before you hip-hop fans attack me, I actually like their work here. They have a good chemistry with the track, and the verse is actually pretty well written. It's just... out of place here.

Let me explain.

You see, Since I Left You was notable for creating entirely new pieces from preexisting ones. That's what separated it from other hip-hop albums of the time. It didn't need guest spots, because the instrumental spoke for itself. It was just that good. This time around, however, the samples and instrumentation are now forced to share the spotlight with at least one other artist. Guest appearances include Camp Lo, Toro y Moi, Jonathan Donahue, Biz Markie, Jean-Michel Bernard, Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, and many more. It's not that I dislike any of these artists; I actually enjoy quite a few of them. Its just that on an Avalanches record, one that already has a lot going on, adding features just makes it feel cluttered, and ends up detracting from the good aspects of tracks like “The Wozard of Iz” and “Live a Lifetime Love.”

As I said, not a big fan of having guest spots on an Avalanches record. "The next track won't be muddled by features, right?" At least that's what I had hoped, until I saw that the next track was “Frankie Sinatra,” sporting features by Danny Brown and MF Doom. While the extended version was what they used as a first single, "Frankie Sinatra" was many people's first exposure to the Avalanches. One of the more standard cuts off this album, it's definitely a decent starting place for anyone just discovering the Avalanches. It's a fun track, but definitely could be better.

As you go down the tracklist, you begin to notice a lot of shorter tracks. Now, the Avalanches are no strangers to shorter tracks sprinkled about their albums, but Wildflower has quite the bloated runtime. Not to say these shorter tracks are bad. It's just that on an album clocking in at around 58 minutes, you better justify that runtime with fantastic tracks throughout, but these short-form tracks are just not up to snuff. With tracks like "Zap!," "Livin' Underwater (Is Something Wild)," "Park Music," and "Over the Turnstiles," it isn't a stretch to say that this album does have its fair share of filler.

While I do have my gripes with the album, for every interlude, there’s two great tracks waiting. The good on this album very much outweighs the "meh," and it all evens out in the end. From the wistful ambience of “Sunshine,” “Kaleidoscope Lovers,” and “Colours,” to more danceable tracks like “Subways,” “Going Home,” and “Harmony,” to even more left field entries with tracks like “The Noisy Eater” and the aforementioned "Frankie Sinatra." Tracks like these make the album, and they're all worth a listen or two.

Overall, another worthy album has entered Avalanches canon. Let’s just hope the next induction doesn’t take a decade and a half like last time. No, you know what? There’s no need to rush them. I’m honestly just glad they’re back.



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user ratings (286)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Kirk Bowman (5)
"If she don't love me, what can I do?"...

IamMe90 (4)
Nearly sixteen years after the release of their monolithic debut opus, Since I Left You, The Avalanc...

DavidShaw1213 (4)
The Avalanches mostly make good on years of promise and deliver one of the feel good records of the ...

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Since I Left You

Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
July 5th 2016


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hope I did well. Wrote this at 2 A.M. watching some friends shoot off fireworks yesterday.

Digging: The Jam - In The City

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"it’s still jarring to hear Brown and Doom rap over what could’ve been a great song. "



u wot

SandwichBubble
July 5th 2016


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@CL0VER Listen, I actually like their verses here, but I still think they're out of place.



Still love the song though. Don't hurt me.

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album cover of the year

ArsMoriendi
July 5th 2016


19280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Unfortunately not even close. Might bump this down to 3.5 soon... :/



Good review though

Digging: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

too much filler, honestly. might drop too.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2016


5752 Comments


heard this doesn't really do anything to progress from their last. is there any truth to that?

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Its Since I Left You but more neo-psychedellia on the last half of the record. If you have a lot of familiarity with their debut then you will find a lot of this to be doing the exact same thing.

SandwichBubble
July 5th 2016


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@JohnnyOnTheSpot Yeah, you could say that.

adr
July 5th 2016


11219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There is a lot of good music on here, but also a lot that's pretty meh.

Haven't heard Since I Left You , but a lot of this sounds like shoegaze, but with samples :o

ArsMoriendi
July 5th 2016


19280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Since I Left You + neo-psychedelia + features - Frontier Psychiatrist type experiments - perflect flow + decent flow + filler = Wildflower

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2016


5752 Comments


(edit: fixed)

Conmaniac
July 5th 2016


10404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

these are all nice criticisms and proof that johnny is the man

SandwichBubble
July 5th 2016


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@JohnnyOnTheSpot Thanks for the critique, man. Really appreciated.



I absolutely agree, I should've delved a bit deeper in a few places, especially when talking about features and such. I need to stop writing like the audience knows exactly what I mean.



Since it's probably too late to change the whole thing and start from scratch, I will be editing a few sentences so they flow a bit better.



Edit: Fuck it, re-writing it now.

Gyromania
July 5th 2016


21495 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

does anyone have a link for this? i heard it twice at a friend's house but i don't have the actual album on my pc. desperately want it

adr
July 5th 2016


11219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

s o u l s e e k

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i believe the stream is exclusive to apple music, so you'd have to use a torrent site or soulseek to get a rip of the stream.

rufinthefury
July 5th 2016


2609 Comments


need to listen to this so bad but fuck apple music

Conmaniac
July 5th 2016


10404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yo does sput have its own soulseek chat room thingy?

SandwichBubble
July 5th 2016


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, edited using tips given to me by @JohnnyOnTheSpot (thanks again, btw). And yes, I dropped the score after some deliberation.



Hopefully review's a little less embarrassing.



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