MILD HIGH CLUB – ” Timeline “

Posted: November 27, 2015 in MUSIC
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As if the name Mild High Club isn’t a clear enough indication of this band’s motives, their debut album’s artwork includes a symbol combining a marijuana leaf with an airplane. It’s not hard to guess what’s in store; appropriately enough, the album consists of mellow psychedelic pop filled with pleasantly dazed vocals, languid tempos, gentle guitar licks, and soft, atmospheric keyboards. The word “Mild” is key here; this isn’t some over-the-top hallucinatory experience in the vein of the Flaming Lips. Mild High Club is the home for the musical output of Alexander Brettin, a jazz-schooled musician transplanted from the Midwest to LA. The Club is due to release the debut album “Timeline” on Circle Star Records, the new imprint of Stones Throw Records. Recording with a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, Macbook, 12-string electric guitar, portasound keyboard, bass, drum machine, software instruments “and whatever was lying around”, Brettin began working on Timeline in 2012. In addition to the pure pop of singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren, sixties psych wields an obvious influence over Mild High Club’s music, but Brettin strips away the opulence commonly associated with it in favour of phased melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Though he may have been “interested in making simple pop songs with a little bit of jazz,” Brettin’s subject matter is far from simple.

The hard, snapping beat of “You and Me” immediately makes the song standout, and its relaxed tempo and dreamy synths push it over the top. The drumless, acoustic-based ballad “Elegy” is about as blue as the album gets, but not enough to kill the buzz. The album ends with “The Chat,” a brisk tune featuring “ooh-la-la”s by Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) as well as Ariel Pink; the track is in line with the more straightforward numbers from his 4AD albums (as in, the ones that aren’t covered in cartoon sound effects or filled with disturbingly perverse lyrics).

Timeline’s themes include the role of the internet and avatars, gender-neutral songs about hooking up, making real connections in the hyperreal world of social media and digital devices, and the artist’s internal wrangling over the process of song writing itself. Mild High Club recently toured with post-punk pioneers. Mild High Club doesn’t try too hard and avoids indulging in cloying weirdness, resulting in an enjoyable, naturally flowing album.

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