The Avalanches
We Will Always Love You


2.5
average

Review

by SusanBoyle USER (54 Reviews)
December 13th, 2020 | 75 replies


Release Date: 12/11/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cue the sad, electric violins.

With the release of Wildflower, The Avalanches’ first record in over 15 years, there was always the worry that it wouldn’t live up to the standard set by their universally-praised debut. Whether or not that album did much for you personally, the general consensus was that it succeeded in being (at the very least) a decent comeback record. A sentiment that I agree with. Personally, I believe time has been rather kind to Wildflower. Four years later, I still find myself listening to it quite a bit.

However, I knew deep down that the follow-up would be a bit different than what I was expecting. It’s practically cliché to make note of the fact that any media that re-appears after a long hiatus, whether music, movies, or television, tries to play it safe at the very beginning before trying something new. New, at least, for the people making it. Usually, these shifts in direction involve following modern trends and styles that other artists have already pioneered and perfected in their long absence. And We Will Always Love You, for the most part, feels a lot like that. Like a big game of ‘catch-up’ for the production duo of Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi. The two, presumably after hearing some newer styles of house and dance, decided to give those styles a half-hearted spin for themselves. And the result, is yet another reunion album stuck in purgatory, struggling between old comforts and new experiments.

The standard building blocks of the Avalanches sound are still here, of course: sampling, interconnected tracks, and a psychedelic/disco sound. However, the production on the album is very hit-or-miss. A strange criticism to be lobbing at veteran producers like The Avalanches, but it’s the truth. Tracks like “Wherever You Go” end up sounding dizzyingly unfocused, spreading itself way too thin between two vocalists (Neneh Cherry and CLYPSO) and producer Jamie xx. “Take Care in Your Dreaming’s” dull instrumentals and beat clash wildly with the three guest vocalists. “Reflecting Light” pairs up Sananda Maitreya and Vashti Bunyan in a track that somehow manages to do no favors for either artist, with the overpowering instrumental mix distracting from their performances. Really, all of the features on We Will Always Love You end up doing very little to bolster these tracks. On Wildflower, I remember not particularly enjoying the features very much either, but on this, they range from inconsequential to outright unfitting. Only adding on to the problems, half of We Will Always Love You’s runtime is taken up by moodier, more atmospheric (and quite honestly, more generic sounding) pieces, which pairs poorly with the dense, wall-to-wall mixing.

All that said, the few bright spots on We Will Always Love You are genuinely good. “Oh the Sunn!,” the eponymous “We Will Always Love You,” and the lovely disco track “The Divine Chord” are all highlights in my eyes. Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, the duo still seems to be much more comfortable taking cues from themselves and reverting to SILY-isms. Songs like the high-energy “Music Makes Me High” and the funky “Born to Lose” make this fact abundantly clear.

It is also made clear that this was The Avalanches’ attempt at throwing off their status as highly regarded “plunderphonics disco dance music” producers and make a slightly more conventional release. And, in some respects, they’ve succeeded. But in the process, the group ends up sounding ever closer to becoming standard artsy pop/R&B producers. Which begs the question: what separates The Avalanches from the litany of other acts out there now, other than the faint hints of their past sound strewn about this album? Listening to We Will Always Love You, I’m not sure I really know.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
December 13th 2020


12433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Didn't proofread, too busy. Just wait for the staff/contrib review, honestly.



Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/755yBlrk0Sz8tIgMMTgyr1

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 13th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is a little out of your comfort zone dont ya think

Gyromania
December 13th 2020


31361 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is definitely better than Wildflower

Digging: Biosphere - Dropsonde [Reissue]

Gyromania
December 13th 2020


31361 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ily sandwich but this review is just one giant bad take. Wherever you go is stunning, same with take care in your dreaming

Observer
Emeritus
December 13th 2020


8714 Comments


I enjoyed my first listen. Wildflower was a letdown for me

Digging: Andrew Bayer - If It Were You, We'd Never Leave

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 13th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

blood orange track absolutely fucks to absolutely no surprise

Gyromania
December 13th 2020


31361 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wildflower is still stunning and features some of their best tracks (stepkids, subways, saturday night inside out, if i was a folkstar) but this album is far more sonically cohesive

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 13th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Ily sandwich but this review is just one giant bad take. Wherever you go is stunning, same with take care in your dreaming"



don't expect sandwich to have good takes on anything that doesn't sound like the strokes

Gyromania
December 13th 2020


31361 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah the title track might still be my favourite

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 14th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i deffs prefer this to wildflower as well btw

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 14th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the feature list on this thing is hilarious

Slex
December 14th 2020


10923 Comments


This is way better than Wildflower

Digging: Seiko Oomori - Kintsugi

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 14th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah wildflower was big meh for me this is big tendy tho

Sinternet
December 14th 2020


23714 Comments


damn they got vashti bunyan on this shit might have to check

Squiggly
December 14th 2020


104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

About the thing with guest vocalists being spread too thin, I think I know what you mean, Sandwich is that the amount of guests makes it feel like there's too much going on musically. But that's the Avalanches trademark. The thing about the beat "clashing wildly" is just not true. Mostly everyone sounds tight af together.

And yes Gyro and Potsy I agree about this being cohesive and better than Wildflower!

Digging: Animal Collective - Ark

ArsMoriendi
December 14th 2020


32760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If I:

-have Since I Left You 4.5'd

-Wildflower 3'd

-and I found "Running Red Lights" to be boring as hell



would I like this?

Digging: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Sinternet
December 14th 2020


23714 Comments


If I:
-have gonorrhea
-diarrhaea
-and i found blood in my shit last night

would i like this?

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 14th 2020


64769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i have since i left you 5'd and wildflower 3'd and thought both siifu tracks were relatively weak compared to other tracks here so chances are yes you will still like this

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 14th 2020


44500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

didn't read this but Take Care in Your Dreaming and We Go On are in a dead heat for SOTY rn

Digging: Black Country, New Road - For the first time

ian b
December 14th 2020


1387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if i had to throw in my two cents, i'd say SILY is a 4.5-5, wildflower is a 3-3.5, and this is like a strong 3.5 light 4 for me at least right now



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