Album Review: The Avalanches- Wildflower
Review by Dakota Nelson
Recommended Tracks: “Subways,” “If I Was a Folkstar,” “Colours,” “Sunshine”
RIYL: DJ Shadow, LCD Soundsystem
Australian-based The Avalanches have returned from a 16-year hiatus to release their second album Wildflower, and the wait was worth it.
The Avalanches’ first album Since I Left You was released in 2000, and it had a very melancholy feel. While not outright happy but optimistic, it created a mood that was very welcoming; for their second album, they decided to go with full-out joy.
The first few tracks let the listener know exactly what the rest of the album is going to entail. “Because I’m Me” is filled with blaring horns and ecstatic strings, leading right into the next track. “Frankie Sinatra” was the first single from the album to be released, and it contains rap heavyweights Danny Brown and MF DOOM. Again using horns and the like for a beat, it creates an almost, unfortunately, “electro-swing” sound.
Leading into the next track “Subways,” The Avalanches went for a much more funk sound. Starting out sounding muffled like it’s being played through busted speakers, it becomes more and more hi-fi until it finally comes in clearly and bursts with a funk beat you can’t sit still to. After this, the album reels back with some more relaxing tracks like “If I Was a Folkstar” and “Colours”.
There is not much else to say about Wildflower. The album is constantly shifting from upbeat and loud to relaxing lounge music. The one major difference from anything else they’ve released is that there are a lot more lyrics. This could be due to the fact that there are a lot of special guest artists on this album. Other than that, everything else is on par. Tracks easily transition from one to another, only one track doesn’t have any samples, and there’s the one goofy nonsense track (The Noisy Eater).
Wildflower took eleven years to make. Starting with rumors around 2005 about new music, The Avalanches decided to take as much time as they needed to constantly tweak and perfect their album. What came out of that painstaking effort is one of the most concise and fantastic albums ever made.