Saturday, September 04, 2021

Mild High Club offers psychedelic bliss with the release of their latest single, ‘Dionysian State’

Psychedelic pop (or, occasionally, acid pop) has made a resurgence in recent years on the indie scene. 

From Tame Impala to The Flaming Lips, the nostalgia for 1960s pop has created a new wave of modern rock bands. One such band is Mild High Club, an American based band formed in 2013, that charmingly mixes psychedelia with their own form of jazzy quirkiness.    

From its opening bars, ‘Dionysian State’ revels in the strangeness of itself. Groovy synthesiser work, tasteful bass, handclaps, percussion and even saxophones swirl around a neo-soulful psychedelic stew. This is familiar ground for Mild High Club, whose work is comparable to Tame Impala in that these funky alternative explorations are the result of primarily one individual, Alexander Bretton.

The music video for the track opens with a strange animated visual of an amoeba-like creature being absorbed by a larger creature (which is then eaten by the amoeba creature in a never-ending loop of consumption). 

This Rick and Morty-esque animation complements the track perfectly, offering colourful and enjoyable visuals along with a bizarre sensibility. The video also relates to the content of the song. Dionysus is the Greek God of wine, ecstasy, and insanity (all three elements can be found in this track). To be in a Dionysian state, therefore, is to be held in the fervour of pleasure. As the chorus states, “To the Dionysian state / where the pleasure feeds the taste of you.” While this state of mind may sound joyous or even romantic, the music video and slightly off kilter tune adds a hint of darkness to the track.   

The yacht rock aesthetic mixed with the song’s surreal ambitions creates a feeling of being pleasantly seasick. The song echoes Steely Dan, offering pristine production and smooth soft rock / soul with a dark sense of humour. The track is buoyed by soft vocal harmonies, handclaps, stylish synthesizer/keyboard work and a smooth as butter saxophone solo to close out the song (Mild High Club is no stranger to jazz, having previously recorded a psychedelic jazz album with fellow indie contemporaries King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard).

Since their 2015 debut, Mild High Club continues to create strange and unique blends of psychedelic indie pop, their latest singles offering proof of an interesting band that is not afraid to explore and experiment as they evolve.       

Josh Lambie


Image: Mild High Club - Dionysus State Music Video Still (Stones Throw Records)

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