The Avalanches - Since I Left You

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-04-16

The Avalanches are a much-feted six-man crew of sample-addicts from down-under, whose debut album Since I Left You is a bargain-bin vinyl throwback to the Daisy Age. Their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach is exemplified by their debut single, "Since I Left You", which opens the record with its wistful disco-samba shuffle and a scintillating sliced-and-diced soul vocal. The album is constructed like a mix tape and calculated to tweak the dance floor. Snatches of familiar rhythms bubble up throughout, giving the record a comfortable lived-in feel, but also betraying the fact that the group haven't dug very far through the crates to source their raw material. Vast chunks of records by Madonna, Art of Noise, Kid Creole And The Coconuts and Parisian hip-hoppers Saian Supa Crew are easily identifiable. There's little doubt that this kind of sample re-construction has become standard fare for retrogressive adolescents with a mania for collecting records and precious little musical flair. The Avalanches get full marks for their seamless mixing skills, but otherwise it all feels way too neat and tidy, bristling with its own inventiveness when it should strive for something that transcends its influences. For every innovator like DJ Shadow and Dan the Automator, there will be an avalanche of imitators. --Chris Campion

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