The Avalanches return with their third album We Will Always Love You, a 25 track mosaic featuring 22 eclectic artists.
Piece by piece; song by song, The Avalanches have been subtly tiptoeing back into our peripheral after a four-year hiatus. Come December 11th their doors will bolt open for the third time to drop We Will Always Love You. As many fans remember, their precursor, Wildflower, took 16 years in the making and won them a justified 83 on Metacritic. As John Wooden so sagaciously put it, “it takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” Nevertheless, it has arrived, and ‘Running Red Lights’, featuring Weezer’s frontman Rivers Cuomo and budding Hip Hop artist Pink Siifu, has already received over six million listens on Spotify.
The Avalanches’ Robbie Charter and Tony Di Blasi, otherwise recognised as Australia’s most eminent electronic duo, also team up with Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry, and CLYPSO in ‘Wherever You Go’. From tech-house grooves and ricochet bass lines to Latino tendencies and Brazilian thrusts, this track’s beat-work is astoundingly unique.
The second track on the album, ‘Song for Barbara Payton’, is dedicated to a 1950s American actress whose substance misuse and adverse life later led to her untimely death. “I’d rather drink and die”, said Payton. She was to be the cover of the album, but the pair decided to celebrate her through song instead. Much like her life, it is short, sad, yet sacred.
‘The Divine Chord’, not only stars neo-psychedelic rock-pop duo MGMT, but the Avalanches also scored Johnny Marr and his renowned guitar riffs. Aided by chimes and charm, the song’s lyrics speak of an anguish familiar only with love. The Avalanches later disclosed that MGMT’s, Andrew VanWyngardens, “was going through a heartbreak, so that sense of loss, it’s captured in the song.”
To understand the sentiment behind this album is to appreciate the combined spiritual and vocal venture led by the Aussie explorers. Amid the melodies, Chater and Szekeres begin renouncing from Wildflower and Since I Left You, parting with their betoken salad days. Now in their 30s and 40s, both musicians are better tuned to feelings of reflection, sentimentality and wisdom, as mirrored in We Will Always Love You.
Although the beats are dim and chords are prioritised, sampling remains central to each song and a wealth of variations are vocal throughout. The 10th track, ‘Oh The Sunn!!’, is an apt example of how the old and new Avalanches are seamlessly sewn together. The song features Jane’s Addiction‘s frontman, Perry Farrell, and has echoes of Daft Punk‘s danceability.
We Will Always Love You is a story in its own right. The remarkable kind that you pick up before bed and you do not put down until daylight comes.
We Will Always Love You is out on December 11th and you can preorder it here.