Thursday, July 06, 2006


I got on the Sufjan Stevens bandwagon a bit late, thanks to Nigel mostly, but totally fell in love with Illinois the minute I heard it, and rapidly invested in Michigan too.

SUFJAN STEVENS: The Avalanche (Asthmatic Kitty, out 10 July)

The fact that Illinois was originally conceived as a double album made up of just under fifty songs is rather mind-blowing, and the fact that the finished product, still displaying no less than twenty-two songs in total, and proving a very consistent, if a tad overwhelming, piece, is certainly no little credit to the vast talent of Stevens.

Clocking at a whooping 75 minutes and twenty-one songs, The Avalanche is very much in line with its predecessor. Announced as an album of extras and outtakes from Illinois, The Avalanches, which features no less than three versions of Chicago (acoustic, Adult Contemporary Easy Listening Version – which has certainly very little to do with easy listening as a genre – and Multiple Personality Disorder Version), is a lot sturdier and far more credible than one could think. It features the same mix of poetry, melancholy and humour, the same type of delicate orchestrations, the lyrics are equally as clever and beautifully crafted, and Stevens shows the same capacity at making the listener dream. This album is way much more than just a companion to Illinois. I surely won’t complain...

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