Review: Wildflower (The Avalanches, 2016)
In 2016, sixteen years after their debut album, Since I Left You, was released, The Avalanches surprised the world with their dazzling sophomore album, Wildflower. Despite listening to it pretty consistently since its release, I love it just as much as I did on my first listen. I am always hearing new sounds or an instrument that comes through in a different way than it had before. This album continues to satisfy.
The amount of fine detail and craftsmanship that went into making Wildflower is evident everywhere. When listening, you’ll hear a plethora of different media samples, ranging from documentaries, films, television ads, music, and many more. Some sources claim that over three thousand samples are used throughout the album, but the exact number has never been revealed.
In addition to the variety of samples, Wildflower also features some great artists, including: Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, Danny Brown, Biz Markie, Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, among others.
Make sure shuffle is turned off for this album. Each track is stitched together with vocals, instruments, and samples that blend and flow together magically. Wildflower combines genres (electronica, motown, hip hop), vocals and sound effects into a truly magnificent entity.
Songs like “Because of Me”, “Frankie Sinatra” and “The Wozard of Iz” all feature more upbeat tempos and carry elements of hip hop, while songs like “Zap”, “Wildflower” and “Park Music” bring on more of the ambient side of things.
The collection of sounds that The Avalanches use invoke a slight sense of nostalgia. Some samples create a cartoon wonderland, while others recall advertisements of decades past. Personally, this album stirs up memories of summers spent hanging out with friends, smoking a joint, drinking a six pack, and just chilling. This is a go-to bop for me, Wildflower never ceases to fill me with happiness and an irresistible urge to groove along.
Get your headphones ready and turn up the volume, because you are in for a treat.
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