The first time most of the world following The Avalanches as they re-blossomed their existence in 2016 heard “Subways,” it was via a strange, surprise hotline set up to tease the band’s return. Through the scratchy static of an all-access hotline, listeners heard barely more than noise, a strange concoction of voices and radio waves that did little to impress. For all the song’s groove, its details were lost in the air.
It’s obvious now, with the single’s actual release, that it made sense why it sounded so bad. Like the best songs from Since I Left You, “Subways” relies on details more than anything. It’s groove of samples including a childlike vocal, bell chimes, keys, and strings, call forth a convertible-sunny-day mood similar to that of Japan’s Shibuya-kei movement (see: Fantastic Plastic Machine, Cornelius).
Much like last year’s widely-acclaimed breakthrough from Jamie XX, “Subways” gives listeners enough dreamy voices to affect the pop-sensitive spots of the brain, while retaining details of dancing and lounging that prove the mega-group’s unique voice and taste are still sharp. “Subways” isn’t just the best single so far from the upcoming Wildflower, it’s also one of the best songs to join the band’s catalogue throughout their existence.