Links to youtube videos in blue
We were barely into November before the ‘Best Albums of 2019’ lists started flying out. I appreciate that the record shops want to stimulate demand before Christmas, but the likes of 6 Music issuing theirs seems a little bonkers to me. What if the album of the year came out on November 22nd?
6 music did at least have the decency to include Warmduscher’s excellent ‘Tainted Lunch’ in their top 5 although I can’t really get why ‘Dogrel’ has topped so many lists, its just not my thing. Each to their own I guess though. Which brings me on to the Avalanche Party’s debut album 24 Carat Diamond Trephine released just after the flurry of ‘Best Albums of 2019’. To my mind, if released earlier this year this album would universally feature in most top 10 lists – it’s certainly in mine.
It’s fair to say that Avalanche Party have piqued my interest over the last 6 months: I hadn’t really paid that much attention to their earlier singles, but heard 7 in June and thought it was a lovely bit of noise. They followed this up with Eldorado, all wistful vocals and broody piano and harmonica which again I liked but wondered exactly where they were going, such was the difference to 7. Before the album dropped things got even more curious with the release of Rebel Forever, a Killers like pop tune and Howl, where glam rock meets Phil Spector.
With a long round trip to one of my favourite city’s Cardiff planned, I thought I’d give the album a go, and was quite apprehensive about how it would sound. Given that the four diverse singles seemed such odd bedfellows, there seemed to be a good chance that the album would be either be genius or a bit of a mess. Thankfully it’s the former of the two.
Eldorado kicks off the album, sounding like something off The The’s ‘Mind Bomb’. Its followed by Bugzy which combines the sleaze of Iggy Pop’s ‘Nightclubbing’, and the sound of the Moonlandingz. Then we get 7, that sonic primal scream, feedback and angst bursting out the seams. Howl merges Panic by the Smiths and Hot Love by T-Rex with a hint of Motown, Milk and Sunlight is a Heavy Dream is like an off kilter ‘Lust for Life’ and HaHa puts a moody bassline over that drum sound used by Amii Stewart on ‘Knock on Wood’ to good effect.
Hey Misdemeanour and Every Last Drop step into classic Rolling Stones territory / Primal Scream and Playing Field Blues brings out the Nick Cave in them. Cruel Madness starts like The The and then comes on like ‘I put a spell on you’ mixed with Muse’s version of ‘Feeling Good’. The album closes with Rebel Forever, which as noted above, has that Killers feel about it.
I love listening to albums that are well-crafted like this – they take you on a journey with their many musical twists and turns. 24 Carat Diamond Trephine is an album bursting with creativity that celebrates its influences with style. Where Avalanche Party go next is anyone’s guess, but with this album they’ve certainly made their mark.