MAGNET’s #16 Album Of 2016: The Avalanches’ “Wildflower”

avalanches

If Happy Mondays were Antipodean rather than Mancunian and plied their wares using turntables and samplers rather than spaced-out guitars, Bez and buckets of ecstasy, they’d be the Avalanches. After a gestation period of nearly 16 years, Wildflower comes on like a hip-hop, time-machine-traveling 24 Hour Party People, a psychedelic casserole disguising its utterly mutinous agenda beneath layers of deceptively pleasant dance beats, samples pulled from a million different eras of vinyl and guest spots ranging from Danny Brown to Mercury Rev to Royal Trux. For fans convinced that the group was incapable of creating something as transcendent as “Frontier Psychiatrist” ever again, cuts like “Subways,” “If I Was a Folkstar” and “Colours” put to rest the notion that the Avalanches had evolved into little more than an internet-based fictional endeavor. A triumph of will, patience and sheer bloody-minded creativity, Wildflower is almost enough to make you bust out your flares and Hacienda T-shirt again. Call the cops.

—Corey duBrowa