Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Avalanches - Since I Left You (2000)

What a aural pleasure it is to go back and listen to The Avalanches debut (and still only) album "Since I Left You." It's been almost a decade since the release and still no sign of the follow-up album, despite the band claiming it will be any second now, but the album still holds up after the years. A brief synopsis is as follows: Bunch of DJs get together and make an album full of no original sounds, compiled mostly of various beats and lines of dialogue from films that will probably never be seen. And a classic is born.

The album works for all the reasons it shouldn't, but mainly I feel that the success of the album comes from its repetition. Too often do singers fear repeating themselves (or at least something other than the chorus), wanting to jump from one verse to the next and get out as fast as possible and leave that familiar and warming hook in your mind. Avalanches songs don't necessarily have a chorus, but they have lines that they often repeat over and over, often for lengths of the songs. What is interesting is some of the creative stories they weave in each song, most of them simply about love and heartbreak.

What makes the album work the most is the repitition. Not to say that this album repeats parts over and over again. If anything, The Avalanches sound like they are trying to make a new sound every second of the album, resulting in what sounds like an ever-evolving album. The track that gets the most attention is "Frontier Psychiatrist," and rightfully so. It's one of the strangest songs I've ever heard and yet couldn't be catchier, and is an excellent diving in-point for anyone unfamiliar with The Avalanches, but the whole album really needs to be listened to as a whole. No songs feel unnecessary nor prolonged, everything flows to what sounds like a logical conclusion at the end of the album, a bookend to the excellent opening track.

Get this album. Dance to it. Fall in love with it. Then wait for whenever they're gonna come out with the next one.

Standout Track: Since I Left You
Rating: 9.9

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