Never shy of an ambitious project, The Avalanches have delivered once again, this time with a conceptual album beaming full of romanticism but set in outer space. We know what you're thinking (sexy aliens, right?), but there's less of the supernatural here and more of the human.
'We Will Always Love You' explores the love story between Ann Druyan and Carl Sagan, the "science communicators" whose writings and TV programs brought the mysteries of astronomy and astrophysics to a mass audience. The band were profoundly moved by the fact that the couple's romance was captured and carried into space, thanks to the Voyager Interstellar Message Project.
Not only a source of inspiration but taking an active role in the album itself, Druyan even became Creative Director for the project, "in charge of curating the Golden Record: earthling music and assorted terrestrial sounds gathered for the contemplation of any alien civilisations that might be out there and be advanced enough to construct a playback system".
In true Avalanches fashion, the album is jam-packed with state of the art techno-gadgets. From visualisers which accompany the audio to stimulate multiple senses simultaneously, to the scientific experiment itself within the music that seeks to test and explore the vibrational relationship between light, sound and spirit in hope to answer the big questions: "Who are we really? What happens when we die?" - basically, this is the Professor Brian Cox of albums.
To push boundaries even further, The Avalanches have enlisted an exhaustive list of guest vocalists and features, from the likes of Blood Orange, Rivers Cuomo, Pink Siifu, Jamie xx, CLYPSO, Denzel Curry, Tricky, Neneh Cherry, Sampa the Great, Sananda Maitreya and Vashti Bunyan. Phew.
The title-track, with Blood Orange, is a standout in its ability to encapsulate the journey of the entire album, giving you just enough of a bite to whet your appetite, but it's also an entire meal in itself. From start to finish, the new album presents a new wave for The Avalanches, and we're more than happy to go along for the ride.