The Avalanches Since I Left You

[XL; 2001]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: club/dance, turntabalism
Others: Basement Jaxx, Kid Koala, Fog, the Dust Brothers

Wow. Upon first hearing The Avalanches' debut full-length Since I Left You, I nearly parked my minivan on the shoulder, turned on the emergency lights for style, and got out to shake my booty. No joke. This is one of those rare "dance" albums that will pull you off the couch and on to the living room dance floor. But dubbing it merely as a "dance" album is an enormous understatement. It is everything you might expect in a dance album, and everything you wouldn't even think of. With over 900 samples, all creatively melded together mind you, you can be certain that you'll get back the retail price with change to spare.

The album begins with the title track; a sampled guitar and 60's style vocals bust through your speakers. Right away you'll realize how different this album will be. As it segues to "Stay Another Season", while still retaining the vocals from the first track, you're sure to be hopping up and down like a rabbit hopping up and down, or even a frog. And the great part is that this ingenious execution is just a sneak peak of all the highlights throughout the remaining songs.

For 16 more tracks, you will be lulled into their unique brand of club beats mixed with samples ranging from Madonna's "Holiday" to a sample of a horse. There are so many bright moments on the album that it would just be redundant if I were to describe them all. In a nutshell, Since I Left You never wears thin or loses its luster -- no matter how many times you've heard the songs, you'll notice something new; whether it be a sample, or just a squeak or pop, the album just keeps on giving.

You'd think that an album with this insane amount of samples would just be a rehash of all the noise, sloppily put together; but this album is much, much more. The Australian sextet take these samples and make you believe that they are their instruments, causing you to forget that these clips were originally taken from another song. And what's more is the samples are used tastefully and marked with spontaneity.

The only foreseeable turnoff may be the amount of songs. While there is plenty of variety, each song's purpose is to get your ass shakin' -- which is great, but 18 songs is a lot. If I wanted to tone my ass, I'd join a health club. But not going by the album as a whole, the individual songs are all strong and definitely serve their purpose.

Simply put: Since I Left You is a brilliant collage of music, brilliantly pasted together. It has more fun moments than Weird Al's Off the Deep End and more grooves than N'Sync's Celebrity -- times 50. And underneath the party din, it manages to emit more emotion than Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American to the 100th power. All math aside, if you don't move your body at all to this album, you're either unable to physically move or your player is on mute.

1. Since I Left You
2. Stay Another Season
3. Radio
4. Two Hearts in 3/4 Time
5. Avalanche Rock
6. Flight Tonight
7. Close to You
8. Diners Only
9. A Different Feeling
10. Electricity
11. Tonight May Have to Last Me All My Life
12. Pablo's Cruise
13. Frontier Psychiatrist
14. Etoh
15. Summer Crane
16. Little Journey
17. Live at Dominoes
18. Extra Kings

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