‘Going Going Gone’ is psychedelic jazz sensation from Mild High Club

Photo of Mild High Club album cover
Stones Throw Records/Courtesy

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Grade: 3.5/5.0

Mild High Club’s artistic trademark is hypnotic, trip-worthy music that stays true to the band’s name and has no other goal than to whisk listeners away to a strange land where reality wavers in and out of focus. The band has been busy in the four years since its last album, Sketches of Brunswick East — a jazz-heavy collaboration with fellow psych band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — working on new, politically cognizant material set to melodically different trance-inducing instrumentals. Released Sept. 17, Going Going Gone is yet another excellent addition to Mild High Club’s stellar discography; the album cover nods to the visual experience of an acid trip while each song pays homage to the feelings of one.

Going Going Gone includes 2 “Kluges,” instrumental intermissions of sorts that respectively introduce and bisect the album. “Kluges I,” though just under two minutes, effectively sets the tone for the record as a jazzy, laid-back composition that persists for its entire length, despite the lyrics’ varying subject matter. 

“Dionysian State,” one of the early singles off of the album, is a woozy, sprightly track that chronicles frontman Alexander Brettin’s experiences with the pandemic and overall chaos of the past few years. The lounge-style song clearly draws inspiration from funk as well, featuring soft, harmonized vocals, tight drums and lively bass. The wind ensemble is both eerie and relaxing as it settles into the groove of the rest of the instruments.

With the whole album clocking in at just under 30 minutes, several of the songs are barely two minutes long, the snippets of Brettin’s world like fleeting thoughts and ideas pieced together. The brevity of Going Going Gone further reinforces the lack of permanence reflected across the album’s thematic scope. Each song doesn’t have enough substance to stand alone, but the intention of Mild High Club is undoubtedly to listen to the record chronologically and in one sitting, absorbing it as a whole.

“A New High” — the name perfectly encapsulating the goals of Mild High Club on the album — is a jazz concoction straight out of hell. Sprinkled with a few discordant sounds just to shake things up, the track’s strange, warbling falsetto complements the outwardly simple and steady instrumentals. It’s a bit of a contrast to songs such as “It’s Over Again,” which offers a smooth, groovy beat — reminiscent of relaxation and the lull of the beach but in a more elegant, refined manner. While the two songs bring different energies, they still flow together like they’re two parts of one story.

“Waving” is one of the few longer songs on the album, fading in very slowly, but settling into a catchy, breezy groove. The beat changes up a few times during the song, and its overall composition matches the quality of the band’s earlier works — the loose, airy nature of the albums making a strong comeback. The wind section returns on this song, fitting its nonchalant atmosphere.

In a scathing critique of American capitalism, “Me Myself and Dollar Hell” condemns greed and economic motivations for polluting the Earth. As the crowning piece of Going Going Gone, the track combines Mild High Club’s lilting soundscape with a new, pointed discussion on the nation’s self-destructive consumerism. “Got the plastic blues/ And all the green’s skimmed off the top,” sings Brettin in a surprisingly upbeat manner for such a grim topic.

Going Going Gone is suave, instrumentally diverse and just peculiar enough to prevent it from settling into the background while being played, delivering exactly what listeners expect from Mild High Club and more. The band’s consistent incorporation of funk, jazz and bossa nova make the album a unique and immensely satisfying listen. The album may not hold its own as strongly compared to Timeline or Skiptracing, but nonetheless, Going Going Gone is a lush, vibrant production that’s simply over too soon.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected]. Tweet her at @callmepbj.