[19] The Avalanches, ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’

Junior ran the rule over this yesterday, on her third birthday. She’s come a long way since she was ruthlessly tearing a strip off Julie Andrews and Antipop Consortium (separate singles, not some breathtaking minimalist hip-hop/prim-yet-somehow-racy-nun mash-up) when she was 20 weeks old. Her critical faculties have sharpened, perhaps, but right now she dances to pretty much everything, willy-nilly. ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ witnessed some wiggling about and a dashed-off mime to a violin sample, before she returned to the more demanding matter of unwrapping piles of presents.

It’s a silly record, representative of its parent album Since I Left You only by dint of the ear-popping collage of samples. ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ is a bit Fatboy Slim; Since I Left You is warm, inspired, mood-driven and dazzling. If I were the type to stat these things up and make list upon list – and I am – I’d say it’s not just the album of 2001, it’s the album of the century so far. From the thrilling four-song build-up to ‘A Different Feeling’ to the gorgeous come-down of ‘Summer Crane’, ‘Etoh’ and ‘Three Kings’, it’s a seamless tapestry of ideas, emotions and balls-out party fun. Where’s the follow-up, lads? If they’re making one – and they occasionally insist they are, still – they must be clearing even more samples this time.

As the vinyl presence in charity shops starts to dwindle, you have to fear for The Avalanches’ source material. I might beat them to the punch myself, cutting up rough with those 93 BBC sound effects 7”s I bought in Oxfam last year…

[11] Gomez, ‘Rhythm & Blues Alibi’


Does anyone listen to minidiscs anymore? My Sony player is about eight years old now, and the clearest and sharpest-sounding walkman I’ve ever owned, but it’s still been booted into touch by the inferior mp3 player. Now I can carry 40 gig of music around in my metrosexual manbag; who can resist that?

We shared great days, the MZ-R50 and I. There was that time I recorded The Avalanches’ album onto a minidisc, and listened to it. And the time I wrote “Remain In Light” in pretty letters on another disc, and listened to that too. And the time the record function broke, and I tried to replace it with one of those swanky Net MD players. It was rubbish, so I returned to the old faithful. Ah, I’m welling up.

I’m sure there’s a withering insight into our attention-deficit society here – something about one album not being enough for a 35-minute commute nowadays – but I’ll leave that to the style mags.

Oh, Gomez. Bring It On is the only album I bought on minidisc. This single’s from their second album, it’s a beauty and very big with Junior.  In fact it appeals to all girls. No, I can’t back this up with anything so prissy as proof.