Review: Wildflower by the Avalanches

Wildflower by the AvalanchesSixteen years has passed since the release of the Avalanches’ seminal record, Since I Left You. On the strength of that one album alone – and, perhaps, also on the idea of plunderphonics – the Aussie group has built a somewhat legendary reputation, and the anticipation towards a follow-up built up as well. Sure, Since I Left You was widely praised upon its release, but it was always a slow burner of a record. It took me several listens before I could really appreciate it – but then again, this was in 2010, when its reputation is already intact, and when I already loved the title track. I believe the same is the case for Wildflower, that long-awaited follow-up. The formula is still the same, although the group has changed its line-up and it has enlisted the help of folks like Toro y Moi, Father John Misty and Danny Brown to add to the samples. The result is a record that, while meandering, focuses on the sunshine, always suggesting something bright up ahead. And, yes, after one listen, it hasn’t quite landed yet: I found it too meandering and too sunny. But, perhaps, like its much-adored predecessor, it will take a few listens for us to figure out, definitively, if Wildflower deserves the hype, or if Since I Left You is better off on its own. [NB]3/5

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