XL Recordings – 2001 - 60 minutes
The clocks have sprinted forward and the days are tentatively stretching themselves out. Sure enough, it's the start of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summertime, complete with the customary scents and sounds of barbeques, cut grass and the hum of low-flying planes. Despite this seasonal utopia vibe, there's something missing, something not quite right as you soak up the sunshine, sipping your adequately chilled bottle of beer. Of course! You haven't had the sense to purchase 'Since I Left You', the Avalanches picnic basket of musical treats. Inside it contains – amongst other things – a sprinkling of light, house beats, 'Good Vibrations' sensibilities, super-catchy vocal samples and lazy-paced, cut-and-paste turntable-ism.
Hailing from Australia, The Avalanches are the unlikely champions of a musical echelon that's tiring of superstar DJs and unimaginative revisionism. Instead, they have undertaken the equivalent of a gigantic musical beach-comb, and the resulting haul is wealth of clued-in, chilled out samples and grooves. The mother of modern pop herself, Madonna, even gave these cheeky antipodeans permission to sample the bass line from her 1983 hit 'Holiday' on their title track; it's hidden under sweet-pitched soul vocals that sound like a cross between Millie (of 'My Boy Lollipop' fame) and Minnie Riperton.
The house samples on 'Close To You' are the kind Etienne de Crecy would be proud to pulverise, speed up and call his own. And just when you think it can't get any better, the trump sample is pulled from the hat in the form of the catchy Latino funk of Kid Creole's 'Stool Pigeon'. The entire album is a magnificent pastiche of genres, styles and vocals, a musical library of borrowed grooves and samples given an innovative spin. The CD copy of the album is already mixed, so if you prefer your tracks neat and unadulterated, opt for the vinyl version. This is a sun-soaked substitute for the summer we're not guaranteed, but essential listening in case of sporadic wet days in July. 'Since I Left You' – summer will be like winter without it.
Tracklisting: Since I Left You – Stay Another Season – Radio – Two Hearts In 3/4 Time – Avalanche Rock – Flight Tonight – Close To You – Diners Only – A Different Feeling – Electricity – Tonight – Pablo's Cruise – Frontier Psychiatrist – Etoh – Summer Crane – Little Journey – Live At Dominoes – Extra Kings