Mild High Club

Going Going Gone

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Going Going Gone Review

by Fred Thomas

Centered around the songs of composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Alex Brettin, Mild High Club developed from pleasantly warped soft rock into far more ambitious and musically rich material. Brettin teamed with Australian psychedelic shapeshifters King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard for the tripped-out jazz of their 2017 collaborative album Sketches of Brunswick East, taking the stylistic exploration he did on his own even further out. The third proper Mild High Club album Going Going Gone continues to push further in terms of more complex arrangements and more adventurous songwriting, but also finds Brettin clearing away some of the experimental clutter that could come off as random on earlier albums. After a brief intro, "Dionysian State" kicks off the album with a sharp neo-soul groove that's as straightforward as it is strange. The same detuned synths, falsetto vocals, and unexpected shifts in song structure that were explored on earlier albums are still present, but they're all laid out in a way that's more economical and precise. Even when Brettin coats the entire mix in phaser, it's only briefly, and we're right back to Steely Dan-level production and performances after what feels like a momentary glitch. Other relatively clean-cut stabs at psychedelic soul include "Me Myself and Dollar Hell," the laid-back and horn-heavy instrumental groove of "Dawn Patrol," the breezy shuffle of "It's Over Again," and album standout "A New High," a loungey and tropical jaunt featuring Brazilian vocalist Samira Winter. Going Going Gone doesn't fully abandon Brettin's tendencies toward warped sounds, however. "I Don't Mind the Wait" moves dizzyingly through shifts in style and tempo, jumping from lazy bossa nova rhythms into breakneck drum'n'bass rhythms, the overall speed and tonality of the song drifting at random. Other moments, like the demented "Trash Heap" and "Waving," are disorienting, piling layers of distortion and jarring samples with the more customary soul elements. Going Going Gone reaches new levels of clarity and composition for Mild High Club without losing any of the damaged magic that made earlier albums such interesting puzzles. It's fun, mischievous, and wildly enjoyable, Brettin and friends turning straight-laced soul-funk and Weather Channel jazz inside-out and dancing gleefully around the confusing and wonderful results.

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