Album Review: We Will Always Love You, by The Avalanches
On December 11, Australian group The Avalanches released their third album, We Will Always Love You, and it is massive. Listening to this album almost feels like watching a movie. The tracks seamlessly blend into one another. So many times before I knew the album well, I wasn’t sure which track I was listening to. After listening to it a few times a day since its release, I can say it is one of my favorite albums from the last few years.
The musical intro to the album is “Song For Barbara Payton” full of soulful vocals and harmonies accompanied by whirling synths and organs. The title track “We Will Always Love You” featuring Blood Orange has a catchy bass with layers of vocals and spoken word tracks all while intricate piano arpeggios fade in and out.
“The Divine Chord” featuring MGMT and Johnny Marr is a fun upbeat track. There are a lot of disco elements underneath the chimes and layered swirling effects. The attention to detail is what always keeps me coming back to their music. The crackling vinyl and countless samples that are layered just create so much depth. Every time I listen to this song I hear something new.
“Interstellar Love” featuring Leon Bridges is an upbeat indie rock track. The chorus uses a sample from the Alan Parsons project Eye in the Sky. It always amazes me how well they can create something that sounds completely different than its original use. I really like the wailing guitars that sound like they are an ambulance off in the distance driving by.
In the track “Reflecting Light” they cleverly chop up vocals of Vashti Bunyan and restructure them into new melodies and meaning. I think my favorite part of the track is the symphony samples that sound like they are just slightly warped by a stop tape effect. There is some clever play on words throughout the lyrics that always makes me smile.
“We Go On” featuring Cola Boyy and Mick Jones is a massive tune. The first thing you will recognize is Karen Carpenter singing the title repeatedly. The bouncing square bassline and horn arpeggios make the song so fun and upbeat. The rapping and spoken word layered on top of the singing completes the song perfectly.
“Until Daylight Comes” featuring Tricky is an R&B track with a wonderful blend of haunting pads, bells, and reversed samples that creates some beautiful transitions. Tracks like this feel more cinematic with all the imagery they create with samples and sound effects.
My favorite track of the album is “Music Makes Me High.” It is such a fun disco song. Every time I listen to it I have to dance or bob my head if I’m sitting down. When it’s safe to Dj out again this will be a song I regularly play.
The piano in “Always Black” featuring Pink Siifu is absolutely gorgeous. The sampled female vocals of Azimuth compliment Pink Siifu’s rapping well as it goes back and forth. One of my favorite songs of the album “Running Red Lights'' features Rivers Cuomo and Pink Siifu. This song has such a catchy chorus don’t be surprised when it’s stuck in your head.
Of all the songs on WWALY “Born To Lose” reminds me of their first album the most. The layers of strings constantly being manipulated mashed up with the disco samples is so wonderfully balanced. There is a constant bombardment of samples that blur together seamlessly while we are treated to a driving beat and bass.
“Music Is The Light” featuring Cornelius and Kelly Morgan is such a trip hop track that sounds like a bunch of random guitar sounds that slowly mold together when the beat comes in. The vocals are layered in a way that they sound haunting, strange, and beautiful all at once. The pads throughout almost sound like sad ghosts contributing to the haunting feeling that the song as a whole gives off.
There are a handful of other tracks that are purely transitions throughout the album. They add a lot to the different themes that occur in multiple songs. It’s just another reason I love listening to The Avalanches so much. After listening to the album so many times, I can say I am an even bigger fan. I can’t wait for the day that bands can start touring again safely so I can see it performed live.