The Avalanches – “Wherever You Go”

After 2020, I applaud The Avalanches for making their latest album about escaping planet earth.

I also applaud them for taking only 4 years to put out an album this time!

So quick recap: Back in the late ’90s the Aussie crew The Avalanches used to light the clubs up with their massive deejay sets and in 2000 released their legendary debut, Since I Left You, a kaleidoscopic, globe-hopping love story known for it’s party atmosphere and for being made up of hundreds of obscure samples. It’s one of my favorite albums ever. The group went through contrition and malaise while trying to follow up their debut, eventually coming back 16 years later with Wildflower, a pretty good record that broke the sophomore curse with it’s laid back, AM radio nostalgia. On this one there were less samples and more original compositions and guests. After Wildflower, the group promised they wouldn’t keep fans waiting too long for their next one.

They kept to their word, and in late 2020 they released We Will Always Love You, a real space odyssey.

Taking inspiration from the Voyager Golden Record (the cover features an image of Ann Druyan (creative director of the Golden Record project and co-creator of the Cosmos miniseries with husband Carl Sagan), We Will Always Love You feels like a message beamed out into the cosmos, existing long after we’re gone. The album sounds more subdued and exploratory than their previous joints, but there’s still some fun to be had and some great sample flips.

“Wherever You Go” is one highlight I’ve had on steady repeat since last November. Featuring the legendary singer Nenah Cherry, deejay Jamie xx and Clypso. this one is a quiet, contemplative, spacy club jam. I love how this one gets started, like a blip from a far off galaxy, with the vocal samples about exploration making this one feel vast and cinematic. The chorus of kids is such a wonderful touch here, an amazing intro before you blast off. And once the track gets going, it’s great, a wonderful interstellar bop as Nenah and Clypso speaks of the tensions and evils of the world, calling for hope and unity like it’s humanity’s last chance. It’s a thoughtful and fun listen to sit with, one which channels the vibes of that first record.

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