The Avalanches: Wildflower

Score: 8/10 – Frank Sinatra approves
Ahhh, Frankie Sinatra. ‘Ol Blue Eyes. Rat Packer. Mobster’s mate. And now the namesake for possibly the world’s catchiest tune. Yes, everyone’s favourite crooner is back in spirit, comin’ in yer ears thanks to Melbourne mix-masters The Avalanches. Skip directly to track three of newest LP Wildflower and marvel at how quickly this earworm works its way into your brain. You will be humming this FOREVER.
Luckily, it’s really good – sorta like Eminem doing ‘The Charleston’ – and so is the rest of the album for that matter. After a 16-year hiatus, numerous lineup reshuffles and a ridiculously long gestation period (recordings began for Wildflower back in 2005), the eclectic Aussie trio has delivered what I’m calling 2016’s most fun album. A riotous ride through a kaleidoscope of sampled beats; it’s a natural successor to 2000’s Since I Left You in style, substance and texture, despite the extended time gap. Naysayers might have a point with the complaint that the two albums are just a little bit too similar, but what sets Wildflower apart is the healthy guest star list, including Biz Markie, Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi, Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev and Detroit rapper Danny Brown on the inescapable “Frankie Sinatra”. The standard version sports a massive 22 “songs”, but this is really one of those albums where you should just stick it on from start to finish and ignore the individual tracks. There’s only a couple of obvious singles (“Because I’m Me”, “Colours”), but that’s cool because the rest of it meshes together to give the effect of a DJ set ‘found sound’ mix-a-thon instead of a studio album.
If you’re looking for deep and meaningful here, forget it because that’s not the point with The Avalanches. What it lacks in substance, Wildflower more than makes up for with its incessant optimism. If you like your choons brimming with sunbeams and rainbows, this is the album for you. If you’re a miserable, naysaying git; play it anyway – it’ll probably cheer you up. Dan Ashcroft.
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