Australian electronic duo The Avalanches' new album, We Will Always Love You is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2016's Wildflower. Described as "an exploration of the vibrational relationship between light, sound and spirit," it doubles as an examination of the human voice and a spiritual reckoning via the big questions: Who are we really? What happens when we die? The Avalanches – Robbie Chater and Tony DiBlasi alongside collaborator Andrew Szekeres – have moved beyond the party-up exuberance of their youthful music to a tender, reflective sound infused with hard-earned life wisdom. Building on the sample-based approach of their classic albums Since I Left You and Wildflower, but stepping boldly into new terrain, We Will Always Love You is their most song-oriented album yet, made with an array of guest singers and writers.
We Will Always Love You comes preceded by collaborations with Blood Orange ("We Will Always Love You"), Rivers Cuomo and Pink Siifu ("Running Red Lights"), Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry and CLYPSO ("Wherever You Go"), and Sananda Maitreya and Vashti Bunyan ("Reflecting Light"). "Take Care In Your Dreaming" featuring alt-rapper Denzel Curry, Tricky and Melbourne-based Zambian rapper-singer Sampa the Great, is a song about unrealized dreams and navigating unexpected journeys through life – a "careful what you wish for" kind of thing. The up-tempo disco-funk cut "Music Makes Me High" has a golden glow that simultaneously hearkens back to tunes like The Whispers' "And The Beat Goes On" and to the filter-house echoes of that era such as Stardust's "Music Feels Better With You" and Gusto's "Disco's Revenge." A gospel choir can be heard very softly in the mix, singing over the "music makes me high" sample.
Jonathan Zawada designed the album's cover, which features Ann Druyan. If there's a single spark for We Will Always Love You, it's the story of the love affair between Druyan and Carl Sagan: "science communicators" whose writings and TV programs brought the ever-deepening mysteries of astronomy and astrophysics to the mass audience. Chater was profoundly moved by the fact that the couple's romance was captured and carried into space, thanks to the Voyager Interstellar Message Project. Unlike its precursor Wildflower, We Will Always Love You came together in just a couple of years. "The conceptual heart of things is really important to me,' Chater explains. "I can't just be blindly creative, I need to find a feeling and a deeply personal place that gives me the energy to start making a record and a story to share. Wildflower changed so much over 16 years, whereas with this album, we knew what it was about right at the beginning, and then we did it, and it's done."