Welcome to the universe of Mild High Club, where nothing’s quite as it seems. Previous records from the group led by Chicago’s Alexander Brettin earned frequent justified comparisons to the work of Mac DeMacro but on 'Going Going Gone' – the outfit’s fourth LP – that boundary is pushed further. There’s still a bedrock of 1970s AOR filtered through wonky melodies and slightly distorted guitar, though this time they’re joined by a smorgasbord of more outré themes.
Brettin is like an excitable professor who can’t keep a lid on all the ideas bursting forth from his head. Somnambulant psychedelia collides with cheap 80s keyboards before dovetailing into a soup of Brazilian rhythms and Japanese city pop. Occasionally vocal harmonies break through and the beauty refreshes you like an icy drink on a stifling day.
Following 2017’s jazz fusion experiment 'Sketches Of Brunswick East' – a collaboration with Melbourne garage freaks King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – 'Going Going Gone' has been billed as Mild High Club’s most political record yet. It seems an odd assertion seeing as the lyrics are often indecipherable, blending into the haze of the zealous production and, if anything, offering a soundscape to get lost in and escape from the current climate. It’s an impressive record, albeit one that’s often difficult to get a foothold on. The abundance of ideas and Brettin’s impatience with the limitations of traditional pop music form mean the songs often feel like sketches rather than fully realised works.
It’s a tricky balance though – a strict producer may have made 'Going Going Gone' a more streamlined affair but would also likely have smoothed away the idiosyncratic edges that make Mild High Club so compelling.
Words: Joe Rivers
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