When Mildlife’s debut album, Phase, was released in 2018 (check our review here) it didn’t so much explode on to the scene as ooze. Their mellifluous mix of jazz, krautrock and, perhaps more pertinently, demon grooves, was the word of mouth sensation of that year among open-minded DJs and diggers searching for the perfect beat.
With Automatic, the band have made a step-change from their debut. It’s more disciplined, directional and arguably more danceable. As on Phase, they are unafraid to let a track luxuriate in length without ever succumbing to self-indulgence. The arrangements, tightly structured thanks to Tom Shanahan (bass) and Jim Rindfleish’s fatback drumming, permit space for the others to add spice to the stew, topped off with Kevin McDowell’s ethereal vocals as Mildlife effortlessly glide between live performance and studio songwriting. “The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,’ says Kevin. “They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”
The centrepiece of Automatic is the title track where the band sounds like Kraftwerk and Herbie Hancock on quarantined lockdown in Bob Moog’s Trumansburg workshop. It’s both a departure and quintessentially Mildlife. This is music you can dance to rather than ‘dance music’ and it’s all the better for it.
Mildlife have signed with the legendary Heavenly Recordings / Inertia Music to release Rare Air, the new single from their forthcoming album Automatic. Pre-order Automatic in digital, vinyl or cd format HERE. The album will be officially released on September 18, 2020.
- Rare Air
- Memory Palace
Mildlife are Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell, Jim Rindfleish and Tomas Shanahan. All songs written, recorded and produced by Mildlife. Rare Air & Memory Palace written by Mildlife with James Donald. Additional percussion by Craig Shanahan. Mixing by Steve Schram, Mastering by Joseph Carra. Artwork by Confetti Studio, Photography by Tom Ross.