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The Avalanches

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Imagine if you will: a light tropical breeze stirring you from a restful sleep, island bird songs and sweet plumeria blossoms fill your senses with delight as you rise and breathe deeply. Looking out over the calm Pacific Ocean from your spacious and well-appointed suite, you see azure blue all around. This perfection is interrupted only by tiny wisps of white clouds sweeping gently across the skyline.

This is what listening to the title track of Since I Left You, by Melbourne, Australia’s the Avalanches, is like. This ethereal blend of soulful trip/hop conjures images of the Rascal’s “Groovin” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” fused with the smoothest of Delfonics’ earthy soul.

The perfect day begins: hopping into your candy apple red convertible Mustang GT – top down of course – you begin the gorgeous drive to the perfect beach as warm air whips your hair into a frenzy. You are listening to this beautiful music. “Since I Left You” gracefully gives way to “Another Season,” then “Radio,” as they all blend into a perfect soulful, groovy backdrop. The white-sand beach awaits you.

Plopping down your umbrella, you and your sweetheart crack open the frosty cold Coronas. You insert freshly cut limes, slather on the sunscreen and take a large gulp of your intoxicating brew. The local islander’s smoke wafts by softly, giving you the perfect contact high. Now you are ready for “Two Hearts in 3/4 Time” and “Avalanche Rock.” The sun, the libations, and the warm smell of colitas lull you into a dreamy state as you float back and forth to the infectious grooves. This is trip-hop as God would have made it.

As if the Avalanches were saying, “Don’t sleep too long, my love,” you’re suddenly jolted back to Earth. It’s time to party and “Flight Tonight” is just that. Now you’re ready to take your honey on a globetrotting adventure replete with hot spots, paparazzi, and sweaty body moves on the dancefloor with the DJ spinning these nuggets: “Close To You” and “Diners Only.”

Let’s shift things a bit now – the Avalanches don’t want you to achieve climax too early. “A Different Feeling” is a hit of Ecstasy. Everything turns to love and good feeling good, “Electricity’s” bleeps, bloops, and 70’s funk sounds get all your parts moving and swaying.

“Tonight” is just the right shot of romance, with alien piano loops reminiscent of a balmy night in Casablanca. Time to run to port to catch the train to “Pablo’s Cruise.” Hurry, or it may leave without you.

Your high is at its peak – you have suddenly been transported into a Hunter S. Thompson novel and everything gets a little weird as you enter “Frontier Psychiatrist.” Delirious children run amok; witch doctors probe your cranium; beautiful Arabic women dance around your dream. Is that Clint Eastwood over there with Sergio Leone at the end of the bar?

The rush is beginning to die down and you breathe a little easier. It’s time to relax and recoup your strength. “Etoh”‘s lilting trance is just the shot of opium you need to take the edge off, and your love is whispering “take me home.” You know what that means. “Summer Crane’s” saccharine coma transforms your mate into a doting kitten purring in your lap, eager to please.

Crossing the threshold to your cozy accommodations, “A Little Journey” adds a little spice and everything is oh so nice. “Live at Dominoes” gets everything bumping and grinding into a frenetic, feverish, fervor-filled session of orgasmic lovemaking.

Ahhhhhhhh… now it’s time to eclipse into post-coital bliss as “Extra Kings” cradles you into a womb-like sleep.

The perfect day is over, but you can always pop in this amazing CD to relive the memories.

Thanks to Jim Treacher for kindly sharing this experience – or at least the CD – with me.

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About Dawn Olsen

  • Keith

    I LOVE this CD. Unequivocally. I got my hands on it last fall and still consider it a valued addition to my collection, even a year later. Such a great musical journey. I wish I could’ve seen them live on the Area:Two tour but I had to work late the night they came to L.A.

  • Jim Treacher

    The only reason I know about them is because MTV had one of those “MTV2 Artists to Watch” things late last year, and the “Frontier Psychiatrist” video was just astonishing. I think that was the last time they played it, though. I dug up the video for “Since I Left You” on iMesh, and it’s weird yet touching.

    You can also find the Gimix tape floating around on the various file-sharing deals. It’s the version of the album with all the samples they couldn’t get cleared. Stuff like the fade-in from Madonna’s “Holiday” to Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”…

  • Eric Olsen

    That was quite a find, Jim, thanks again!

  • carl dobie

    “Since i left you is the ultimate summer album,it is simply stunning,up there with “The Stone Roses” self-titled first album as the greatest albums ever

  • Mark Sahm

    ‘Frontier’ just came on my iTunes at random, and I wondered if any BCer ever wrote about them. I recall them being hailed as the next big thing of sample heavy music, but now 4 years later, they were but another flash in the pan.