Why The Avalanches’ Second Album Was Worth The Wait

Catch them at Mezzanine on Tuesday, April 18.

(Courtesy of the Avalanches)

Oh, how far The Avalanches have come since 1994.

The act was originally a noise-punk trio inspired by the manic shredding found in Drive Like Jehu and the screamo vocals used in Japan’s Ultra Bidé. It wasn’t long before they expanded into a quartet and ditched thrashing for curated record samples, hip-hop beats, electronic flourishes, and a more varied palette of instruments.

Thankfully, they’ve continued to stay in that lane for more than two decades without changing. Despite the gap in years, you can hear those influences in both their first album, 2000’s Since I Left You, and their next album, 2016’s Wildflower. Even though the foundation of their music is electronic, The Avalanches are predictably heavy-handed when it comes to sprinkling hip-hop into their tunes, and the styles they employ are more than a little indicative of the different decades the albums were recorded in. Since I Left You is more old-school, with a neo-soul vibe and vocals from multiple rappers who sound like something from Naughty By Nature. Wildflower has a more integrative angle, combining prominent bars from one rapper with unorthodox and occasionally disco-flecked beats.

And don’t even get me started on the electronic subgenres in each album. Suffice it to say, that yes, The Avalanches took a long-ass time to release a mere two records, but it’ll take you a lot longer than that to unpack and dissect their combined 40 tracks.

The Avalanches
At 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, at Mezzanine. $29.50; mezzaninesf.com

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