Over the course of this year, it seems like The Avalanches, the Australian plunderphonics collective responsible for the universally-heralded Since I Left You, have been more interested in teasing the music blogosphere than actually leaking any material from their sophomore album purportedly slated for release this year. With featured artist reveals (including the boisterous Danny Brown and Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux/RTX/Black Bananas fame), a mysterious mixtape that ultimately had nothing to do with the band, and a supposedly new track turning out to be a very, very old demo, fans of the band seem to be trapped in a cycle of excitement for any Avalanches-related iota followed by disappointment that the new development wasn’t more substantial. With their latest offering however, The Avalanches deliver an astoundingly poetic spoken word piece written by David Berman, frontman of the late, great Silver Jews, a fellow artist who has been far too silent in recent years.
While best known for their hyperactive collage of eclectic samples, The Avalanches take an appropriately more subdued approach on “A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart,” allowing for Berman’s evocative prose to take center stage. An incredibly talented wordsmith, Berman recognizes the power of simple language, conjuring familiar images infused with an incredible sense of loneliness and regret, a direct contrast to the triumphant tone of the Silver Jews’ swan song, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. Backed by simple, fingerpicked banjo and the sound of children cheering in the distance, Berman seems reflective while noting “the dog eats out of an old tambourine on the floor,” a possible reference to days gone by when he played “tambourine for minimum wage.” The track rambles like a long night drive. While your purpose may be to reach your destination, there’s always an undeniable and unexplainable feeling that you wouldn’t mind if the moonlit road went on forever, if Berman’s hypnotic narration never ended.
Thanks to self-titled mag for the SoundCloud link!