There was a sizeable chunk of the ’00s and ’10s in which the safe bet was on The Avalanches being a one-album wonder. 2000’s Since I Left You exuded an almost intimidating air of perfection, but when they finally reunited the results did their legacy justice, and now this, their third record, diversifies their sound while still having one foot in the plunderphonic tradition.
One could spend a whole review just focusing on the eclectic and star-studded guest list, but The Avalanches are remarkably effective at blending the myriad contributions into a unified whole. Whether it’s Denzel Curry, Sampa The Great and Tricky’s unlikely chemistry on the trap-infused Take Care In Your Dreaming, or Wherever You Go, featuring Neneh Cherry’s spiky vocals on a dubby house beat that has Jamie xx’s fingers all over it.
Much like their classic debut, a lot of effort is taken to give We Will Always Love You the feeling of a free-flowing mix, evidenced by the blink-and-you-miss-them interludes and the seamless segues. Carrier Waves’ low-key thump and wordless vocal snippets are an ideal intro to the disco-flavoured determination of Oh The Sunn!, as is Ghost Story to Song For Barbara Payton, a double-intro of wistful ambience.
The title track is a particular highlight, lo-fi drums and an endearing refrain complimenting Blood Orange’s deadpan delivery, while Music Makes Me High takes proceedings to the Paradise Garage, all pumping beats and soulful loops. The Avalanches have spoken of the joy of sampling vinyl, all its pops and clicks representing people’s experiences with the record, and brilliant mixing and mastering makes these old records sit within the new songs as if they were always meant to end up here.
We Will Always Love You is an emotional rollercoaster, and a lovingly put-together tapestry that signals The Avalanches entering the 2020s as vibrant as ever.