Hauntology and mixology meet on The Avalanches’ third album, which is so full of cameos it makes Robert Altman’s ‘The Player’ look threadbare. As well as the beautifully cosmic title track featuring Dev Hynes, elsewhere you’ll find the likes of Tricky, Neneh Cherry, Perry Farrell, Johnny Marr, Karen O, Kurt Vile and Mick Jones, and that’s not even half the cast.
Furthermore, the divine ‘Reflecting Light’ stars two of pop’s great inscrutables, Vashti Bunyan and Sananda Maitreya (aka Terence Trent D’Arby), and is one of the album’s highlights. There are other voices too, provided by samples from those who’ve passed on, such as the astrologer Carl Sagan, who presented the iconic science documentary series ‘Cosmos’ in the early 80s. His wife, Ann Druyan (creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project) features on the sleeve having had her image pass through a spectrometer, making the album a kind of interstellar love letter.
These 25 songs, over more than 70 minutes, are cosmically ambitious and the fact The Avalanches have openly courted the uncanny doesn’t make the work any less so.