The Avalanches: We Will Always Love You (Astralwerks) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, January 24th, 2021  

The Avalanches

We Will Always Love You

Astralwerks

Dec 11, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Lack of ambition is not a failing of The Avalanches, the elusive Australian group that dropped a classic debut album in 2000 before abandoning the stage for 16 years. There’s never been an obscure sample they couldn’t work into an off-kilter hit, but it seems the confines of this planet are not enough for Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi. Coming a mere four years after that long-awaited sophomore effort, they have a third record, with stars the destination.

This applies to the space faring romance inspiring them, and the hybrid style they employ. The Voyager Interstellar Message Project that sent two golden LPs into space acts as a foundation, particularly the recording of creative director Ann Druyan’s brain waves taken only days after Carl Sagan proposed. It’s Druyan’s face on the cover, her voice audible on the record. 

With this backbone, We Will Always Love You dives into the outer reaches, exploring love, life, death, and the great unknown all around. The music here is less frenetic, more searching. It falls back on hypnotic constructions, though without losing pop hooks and catchy propulsion. The samples are still there of course. From The Alan Parsons Project cut on the gorgeous “Interstellar Love,” to Smokey Robinson on the title track, it’s still The Avalanches.

Except it isn’t entirely. This time, they’ve gathered an astonishing list of guests including Blood Orange, Neneh Cherry, Perry Farrell, MGMT, Tricky, Johnny Marr, Kurt Vile, Leon Bridges, and Rivers Cuomo to name a but a few. They’re put to good use, from the toe-tapping “We Go On” featuring Cola Boyy and Mick Jones, to Cuomo on “Running Red Lights,” a brilliant pop song and tribute to the late David Berman. 

The most impressive thing about the record is the way it simultaneously exists as a collection of pristine singles and a complete whole. Half the 25 tracks sound great on their own, the rest connecting into something different and no less impressive. There’s a real genius in crafting something that has the same impact in four-minute slices as it does strung out into an hour plus experience. Yet that’s exactly what’s going on here. (www.theavalanches.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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