Since I Left You

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2001, 12:00am


Australians. Nice bunch, generally. Laid back. Good at barbecues. Like beer. Really, really funky . . .

Shocked you, didn't I. Because it's well-known that Aussies are without doubt the most un-funky race ever to tread the globe in flip-flops and board shorts. But if stereotypes are meant to be broken, then smashing them down in no uncertain terms are The Avalanches. And on this unstoppable debut, the Melbourne six-piece rewrite the rule book not just for antipodeans, but for global hip-hop culture.

It's a sample record, sure, but the breadth of their pilfering is astounding. It seems nothing is considered unworthy of being copied and pasted, then thrown into the blender to create something thoroughly original and totally entertaining. While the album is one long mix, The Avalanches' main strength is their undeniable sense of what makes a great tune. Since I Left You is irresistible as a dance record, but it's much too good to categorise as such. It's as if art worthy of Renoir has been conjured by chopping up the best bits of a 'lad's' magazine and turning them into a stunning masterpiece of aural collage.

Madonna liked them so much she let them become the first to sample her work - Holiday, no less. Which is appropriate, because that's exactly what this record feels like. Party album of the year.