The Avalanches

Record Review

The Avalanches

Since I Left You (Modular)

There are few things in the world as deeply satisfying as coming across a group or CD sight unsound and having your expectations -- or lack thereof -- shattered into a million shiny, perfect pieces. So it is with Australian DJ/artist collective the Avalanches, who would probably still be an unknown quantity, were it not for the fact that I regularly read a handful of Brit music mags, and occasionally those overzealous Fleet Streeters actually get something right. Already a runaway success down under and in the U.K., Since I Left You contains a breathtaking array of styles, from hip-hop to ambient, illbient, and freestyle pop excursions that flow as smooth and gorgeous as a river of honey. The stunning scratch 'n' sample theatrics of "Frontier Psychiatrist" is hands down the best example of the sheer giddy pleasure of turntablist art you've likely ever heard, while tracks such as first single, "Electricity," and especially the joyous "Diners Only" rediscover the sexy summer soul of pure, funky house-play. Dense with infinitely catchy loops, sequences, and plain old melodies, Since I Left You is as much of a revelation now as Primal Scream's life-changing Screamadelica was a decade ago. It's downright shocking how fun this is, walloping you upside your seratonin centers with a big fat fluffy pillow of deep, deep funkiness and enough cleverly orchestrated grooves to keep you grinning for days on end. Essential.

****

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