Image from mildhighclub.bandcamp.com
Throughout my high school years, the likes of Mac Demarco and his alternative affiliates were garnering attention from the most music-heavy students in my school. There was an attraction for Demarco’s music and the genre overall. At first glance, the music is chilled, relaxed, charming, and even lustrous at times. Demarco didn’t necessarily discover the millennial genre, whatever it may be, but gave a voice to the movement instead.
In 2015, an obscure and zany band that signed into the omnipotent label Stones Throw released their debut project, Timeline. The band itself is composed of several band members individually preoccupying the keys, guitars, and vocals. The album was an entourage of Psychedelic and Soft Rock-influenced processions that followed the likes of early Beatles’ music, without the Pop appeal to it.
If Timeline was the precipice to their evolution, Skiptracing would be their refined predecessor. Skiptracing is one of the best albums of the decade I’ve heard up to this day. This is one of the albums that I could never get tired of. The self-entitled introduction to the album, Skiptracing, is oddly soothing to drive under the night lights of street poles and exasperating winds. This also strangely fits into nearly anytime of a mild to a humid Summer day.
I had listened to this album in its full spectrum in the Summer of 2017, although hearing bits and pieces of it in late 2016. I remember having to commute back and forth between classes and my part-time job, so I needed the perfect playlist to drive under the late Summer days. The song Skiptracing was definitely in my playlist, but I ventured no deeper than that until the next Summer.
Songs like Chasing My Tail, my personal favorite on the album, is the perfect song to drive by small parks and valley hills. Each track of this album feels like those oasis points on those certain days. The genre of this album, in particular, is hard to describe. The band itself is categorized as Psychedelic Rock, but there’s more to them as exemplified in this album. Songs like Carry Me Back contain portions of Soft Rock and Folk, as songs like Tesselation definitely contain elements of Fusion Jazz.
What I mostly remember about this album are the hailing moments many of the songs here contain. In the song Head Out, around one and a half minutes in, the song goes from subtle guitar strings and echoing vocals to chilled chord play and a relaxed drum session. The song, Chasing My Tail, has one of the most shuddering but grandiose endings I’ve ever heard. The song itself is a breezy soft play with hazy guitar strings and reverbed vocals distorted enough so the lyrics aren’t so well articulated.
The haziness of the song adds dramatic momentum until around two and a half minutes in, where the vocals are amplified to become one with the instrumentation. The guitar strings become more wailing, as the drum chords start to kick in heavily. The track, Ceiling Zero, is a thirty-second segment that continues the hailing coda of the previous track.
It’s one of the projects that have a defining genre attached to it, but each track differs in sound, which is a little difficult to explain. Tracks like Whodunit and Tesselation are conducive to titillation, as songs like Head Out and Kokopelli are languid and relaxed sessions. The group proved themselves that they can handle each genre with caution and strategy. One of the highlights of the album is how they manage to transition from a slow, melodic song to a more vibrant, cheerful track.
Just like the now infamous R&B group, The Internet, Mild High Club seems to be on the same realm as them in terms of the vibrations they elude. Mild High Club’s music is for the chilled, laconic, and comfortable. Listeners of the group definitely take pleasure in seasonal moments and quiet ruminations, because this project had done exactly that for me.
Someone who is a fan of the lighter tones of Mac Demarco or the dreary and hypnotic noise of King Krule will most likely appreciate the best of both worlds that Mild High Club offers in this album.