The Avalanches – Since I Left You

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Album Review by Kris Griffiths

The best things in life, as Luther Vandross once joyously declared, are free. However, contrary to popular belief, samples are not.

SINCE I LEFT YOU contains almost a thousand separate samples – that’s a lot of random people to track down and obtain permission from, often by monetary means. So after all that time, hassle and money – two year’s worth to be precise – was the outcome really worth it?

Well, the outcome is a cut and paste kaleidoscope of quality tunes that is worth every penny ploughed into its creation. For me the album’s excellence can be boiled down to the two singles released from it. The opening title track is a beautiful, swirling mass of summery splendour awash with strings, flutes and the sounds of the sea. Then much later on arrives the stroke of genius that is FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST. Using samples from 37 different spoken word recordings, it hilariously tells the story of Dexter who gets expelled from school for being mad, before descending into a cacophony of horse-neighing, parrot-squawking and cuckoos. An early contender for single of the decade.

The samples used on the rest of the album range from a singing rasta to a golf instructional recording, from Boney M to Madonna. Incidentally, Madonna was so impressed by the band that she let them use her HOLIDAY bassline.

Since this superb album’s release The Avalanches, who hail from Melbourne, Australia, have gone on to remix songs by British lads Manic Street Preachers and Badly Drawn Boy.

The only way is up…… from down under.

5 stars