The Avalanches Since I Left You

Australian sextet the Avalanches are fast becoming media darlings by virtue of their eclectic and entirely post-modern debut effort. Featuring the talents of six musicians who switch from playing instruments to indulging in various forms of turntablism, the group promises cut & paste punk mayhem. It does this in a collection of tunes which do not pause for breath and cut across everything from kitschy '60s pop, a bass sample of Madonna's wondrous '80s hit "Holiday," to hip-hop and soul snippets. The result could be disorienting and even off-putting, but the Avalanches manage to keep it coherent. Much of the feel they deliver harks back to Beck in the old days, a sense of slightly crazed boys who have too many toys at their disposal. There is even something of the spiritedness and disorientation that characterised the Make-Up. The common thread of all references is that they all just want to create a party. This is precisely why this group is able to move from the insanity prevalent in "Avalanche Rock," which features a sweet bass refrain and hip-hop freestyling, to a house number called "A Different Feeling." The latter track always swings back into its sampled roots sounding more like a soulful, horns-filled tune than anything worked on with programming. There is something to be said for bringing together their inspirations, which range from Happy Mondays to Neil Young and the Wu-Tang Clan. They do it rather spiritedly, and all the more kudos to them for that. At least it breaks the notion that the punk mayhem in their songs are not far separated from the disco and house-inspired tunes they throw in, in equal parts. (Beggars Banquet)