Album: Going Going Gone
Artist: Mild High Club
Label: Stones Throw Records
Non-Airable Tracks: Me Myself and Dollar Hell
The first time I listened to Mild High Club was when I was a junior in high school. My good friend Will had sent me the song “Homage” one night, and told me that I would probably like it. Liking it was an understatement. I felt so many feelings when I first heard that song, and I still do every time I hear it. It inspired me to explore the rest of Alex Brettin’s spectacular discography, which at the time was limited to 2015’s Timeline, 2016’s masterful project Skiptracing, and the collaboration record between MHC and Australian psych group King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Sketches of Brunswick East. I had eagerly awaited a new Mild High Club project for almost 4 years, and when MHC released the single, “Me Myself and Dollar Hell” this summer, I was finally able to prepare myself for the magnificent work that was yet to come.
I had the opportunity to get a fresh, uninterrupted listening of Going Going Gone very shortly after it was available on streaming, starting my sonic journey into Alex Brettin’s layered soundscapes with the house to myself and the speaker turned up, positioned comfortably on the couch with my eyes staring up at the ceiling fan. And as soon as I heard the lush keys and subtle instrumentation of the soft, yet vibrant opening track, “Kluges I”, I knew I was about to experience a phenomenal record. Brettin’s attention to detail throughout the record is extremely impressive. Every instrument in Brettin’s musical arsenal pierces through the mix expertly, clearly adding upon one another while remaining smooth and cohesive. The variety of instrumentation across the album leaves you fully immersed in the listening experience, eagerly awaiting the next addition to the arrangement. Brettin’s signature low, hazy vocals are scattered across a decent amount of the tracklist, and sound so satisfying in tandem with the dreamy sonic atmosphere that is Going Going Gone.
Getting into the specifics of the tracklist, my particular favorites include the whimsical bossa nova inspired “A New High”, the washed out slow jam “Taste Tomorrow”, the endlessly catchy “It’s Over Again”, the pop-reminiscent banger “Me Myself and Dollar Hell”, and my overall favorite song on the album, “Waving”. From start to finish, “Waving” hits all of the marks in creating a masterful jazz-pop combination, with fantastic vocals, luscious layers of instrumentation, and a horns-riddled outro that makes me want to just frolic in a field somewhere. However, I would like to make an honorable mention to “I Don’t Mind the Wait”, a groovy track that includes an unexpected, yet totally sensible techno breakbeat section that gets me excited every time I hear it. The drums on every song on this record sound absolutely magnificent in comparison to the drums on MHC’s previous projects, which were much simpler and less apparent within the mix. However, it is noticeable that Brettin spent a lot of time perfecting his drum sound and selection of rhythms, as they are one of my favorite aspects of the record overall. I would recommend this album to anyone, as this quick thirty minute record will simply put you in a cheerful and hopeful mood. It’s an album that grows on you the more you listen to it, which is impressive, considering your first listen will most likely be a very enjoyable experience in the first place. It really feels as if you are transported to another dimension, where the sky is constantly shifting between shades of cool blues and warm reds and yellows, the ground feels like waves beneath your feet, and a sense of overwhelming nostalgia envelops you from head to toe. Easily my album of the year.
Crumb, Loving, Chick Corea
Waving, Me Myself and Dollar Hell, It’s Over Again, A New High, Taste Tomorrow
Review by: Vic Verbalaitis