THE GRADE B
BOTTOM LINE Losing the element of surprise and a bit of creative steam
When The Avalanches — Aussie producers Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi — unleashed their stunning debut “Since I Left You” in 2000, there was no way to prepare for the intricate collection of eclectic samples woven together to create an unexpected dance music masterpiece.
Not surprisingly, this inspired loads of interest in similar projects from Gorillaz, Go! Team and Girl Talk for years, though nothing new from The Avalanches until now. “Wildflower” (Astralwerks) marks the group’s return after 16 years of relative seclusion and reveals that not much has changed for Chater and Di Blasi, other than they have way more famous collaborators this time around.
Patchogue’s Biz Markie delivers the album’s most memorable performance on “The Noisy Eater,” which takes Biz’s tale of getting a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and pairs it with a choir of kids singing The Beatles’ “Come Together.”
On “Frankie Sinatra,” they combine a sample from Wilmoth Houdini’s “Bobby Sox Idol” that tells Sinatra “you have the perfect voice to sing calypso” with a memorable rap from Danny Brown.
Unfortunately, The Avalanches can’t maintain that level of innovation, making much of “Wildflower” sound oddly ordinary.