Nearly 16 years off of its debut release, The Avalanches have finally returned in a big way with this year's plunderphonics epic Wildflower. Be prepare for a long and sweet nostalgic trip with sonic accompaniment by your side.
It's hard to put a finger on it, but each track has a distinct touch of dreamy nostalgia to it. Perhaps it's the scenes in between tracks that simulate beachside chilling or lazy afternoons watching TV, or the somewhat lo-fi feel in each track, but something just feels familiar in each song, from every angle. 'Live A Lifetime Love' has a lot of traffic sounds and active noise in the background that feels just like a commute to work or a drive through the town. There's also the sweetness of 'If I Was A Folkstar', that feels like it goes through the whole spectrum of emotions without being specific to any regard. 'Sunshine' brings you back to that feeling of falling in love for the first time, all the joy and serenity paired with it. It's almost like the album tells the story of life and all its beauties.
A lot of this album, when not stirring up your emotions, is just pure fun. Right from the beginning we have 'Because I'm Me', sounding high and proud with grand strings leading you into the golden city party the album offers. 'Frankie Sinatra' offers an old-fashioned carnival vibe backing hip-hop verses. There's a really playful tone in this one, making it a really fun and vivid listen. Other songs that have this fun embodiment include the absolutely ridiculous (one of those so bad it's good songs) 'The Noisy Eater' and the sweet 'Harmony'.
One thing you have to be weary about with this album, though, is that if you don't get it, it won't do much for you. Listening through it, you can kind of get the feel of the tracks and the emotion packed in with them, but there is a certain alienation you feel if you don't connect with it. It almost feels like a generational thing, a lot of the samples are maneuvered to have a more lo-fi vibe, or just a more relevant vibe to an older time. It will even get a bit boring if it doesn't key in with the listener. That's what set this album off for me - it was enjoyable, but it never really clicked.
The Avalanches didn't disappoint with the 16 year wait since their debut. Wildflower seems to have been well worth its wait time. However, if you weren't there for Since I Left You, the charm of the album may be lost. It's enjoyable even without having listened to its predecessor, but it feels like there's something I'm missing. Perhaps it'll click at another time. For now, I can take this album for a nice chill day with a cold drink. Here's hoping the next album isn't two decades away.
Favorite Tracks: Frankie Sinatra, Harmony
Least Favorite Tracks: The Leaves Were Falling, Subways
Rating: 73 / 100