Recording information: 2012-2015.
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. Instead, the album's songs are stripped-down and succinct, delightfully ambling about for a few minutes before giving way to the next song (a few tracks even seem to use the exact same drum machine pattern). This isn't to say that the album sounds lazy or undercooked, as there are plenty of subtle details and neat touches to the arrangements. "Windowpane" features Mellotron- and harpsichord-like synth sounds, and a Baroque-style melody played on what sounds like a Farfisa appears briefly during "Undeniable." 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). Mild High Club doesn't try too hard and avoids indulging in cloying weirdness, resulting in an enjoyable, naturally flowing album. ~ Paul Simpson