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The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

August 11, 2017

[Album 556/1001]

“A few people are discussing how The Avalanches are overhyped, an odd argument to make about a band that 98 percent of America has never even heard of”
– Chuck Klosterman, I Rock Chump (from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs)

If the above stat were extended to North America, until recently, I would have been a part of the 98%.

Chances are, if they hadn’t appeared on the 1001 list or in a Klosterman essay, I’d likely still be completely unaware of the existence of an Australian electronic group named The Avalanches.

But now, as a part of the 2% that have heard of The Avalanches, do I agree the band is overhyped?

Probably not.

They certainly weren’t overpriced in my case, I found the 50 ¢ price tag quite agreeable!

But I’ll put forward another odd argument: The Avalanches sound like the inside panels of their 4-panel Digipak CD.

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Picture1

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I gather there are upwards of 3,500 samples used on Since I Left You.

And at times, listening to the album felt a bit like trying to read the text on the left of the photo.

ALL CAPS, so much happening, all at once, with no breaks…it can be exhausting.

The presentation is just so busy, it can be a struggle to focus.

However, when the album is at its best, The Avalanches sound like the image on the right, a ship in rough waters.Since_i_left_you

They’ll find a memorable hook, powerful enough to cut through anything in its path, and the track stays the course.

When the songs sound like this, as in the case of the title track, it’s easy to see the appeal, and easier to appreciate the art form.

So I suppose the questions are:

a) Are you among the 2% that have heard of The Avalanches?

b) If you’ve listened to them, do they sound like ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME or do they sound like art worth hyping?

…..

Verbalize the Positive

Although it’s a challenge to not shout my gratitude in all caps…it was 10 years ago today that I was able to start using the term “my wonderful wife.”

So, to my wonderful wife Wendy, the wedding was a blast, the marriage has been even better, and the best is yet to come.

Je t’aime!

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From → 2000s

19 Comments
  1. Zack permalink

    I’m part of the 98%. IT SEEMS A LITTLE OVERWHELMING.

  2. Haven’t listened to this in a long, long time! Frontier psychiatrist brings back a lot of nostalgia!

  3. I’m one of those who just never got it. There was a fair bit of noise about them and, aside from a track or two, I just felt unmoved. I guess it’s that old scenario of loads to admire, but little to enjoy (?). Not to mention some of it was also bloody irritating.

    • Ahh, so you were one of the 2% who knew of them at least!
      There were a few tracks in the middle where it was all just a bit much for me as well.
      But when it was good (like the title track), I can see why people fussed about it!

      • The title track is one of those I found a bit grating! But yeah, I think fussing doesn’t help me appreciate something or stick with it when it just doesn’t click with me.

      • Haha, one man’s great is another man’s grating I suppose J!

  4. I once read an incredible review of this LP. The writer was witty, clever and I found his nuanced take on the album brilliant to the point of being almost erotic, if truth be told.

    I kept a note of the link:

    https://jatstorey.com/2016/07/06/anyone-seen-my-sample/

  5. I really liked their album from last year, and I think in all honesty I’m one of the 2%

    • That’s good to hear they’ve got more to explore beyond this record – I’m pleased to now at least be part of the 2% that are aware of their existence!!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS ON TEN YEARS!!!! Way to go, you young kids in love!!

    • Much appreciated Aaron!
      It’s been a terrific decade – and if I remember correctly, you youthful kids just hit anniversary #14? 14 years, 14000 points, it’s a 14 kind of year for you!

  7. I’ve seen Avalanches in shoppes, but have never bought an album because I didn’t know what they were. That’s no excuse, of course, but given the name and the album art I might have thought of them as some sort of twee indie band who’d have fit into the mid-90s Matador roster. Apparently not!

  8. I only own their second album, last year’s Wildflower, which I thought was pretty great.

    • I hadn’t realized it was 16 years between records – nice to read they ignored that old quote about ‘you have your whole life to make your first record, 6 months to make your second record’!

      • The best memory I have of it is playing it on the 1st of January for some of my friends, while we were in a hungover, sleepless daze in the afternoon, in a mountain cabin. I don’t know how much they paid attention to it, but it sounded awesome.

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