Endless summers for many youths don't consist of beaches and surfboards. Instead, they're spent on blacktops and jungle gyms. More gritty and halfway between the curb and the hoop than anything celestial, the Avalanches remind you of a point in your life when you could blissfully hang upside down from monkey bars and just dangle. Like recklessly riding your BMX or skipping rope after downing a sugar-laced pitcher of lemonade, the un-mawkish Since I Left You thrives on making you feel youthful and mighty. Its Utopian grove stand bric-a-brac of grooves, beats, flutters, whistles, oohs-and-yeahs, and sundry animal noises can alternately sound familiar and fresh. Some origins can be immediately placed, and those that can't trigger an impulse that you've heard it somewhere before. You're at least familiar with the tone as it relates to a long-lost feeling of childhood bliss -- whether it's staring at a clear blue sky from a fresh-cut lawn or the first time you heard "Rock the Bells." If you want stifling touchstones, they're there. Dunk the Beastie Boys of Paul's Boutique and Basement Jaxx into the fountain of youth; Sylvester meets Tweety; Mercury Rev links hands with The Bomb Squad for laps around the roller rink. It's no cloyed nostalgia trip, pieced together humbly by Aussies who are probably telling you the truth when they say they listen "to a little bit of everything." The unflinching mix offers plenty of tempo variety, knowing just when to change the pitch before hitting overkill. The second half features a subtle lull that builds up in time for "Live at Dominoes," possibly the strongest cut. There's little doubt to Since I Left You's status as one of the most intimate and emotional dance records that isn't vocal-based. Working on a mystical level, don't be too surprised if a future dig through the wallet unearths a membership card to the Summer Break Funk Association.
By: Andy Kellman.