[Research Records, 2018]
Intro: Petros Papadogiannis
08 / 12 / 2018
The Australian band Mildlife, almost a year after the release of their first album titled Phase, have achieved quite a few important things. They’ve shared the stage with their highly successful compatriots Tame Impala, and also with the astonishing Australians King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Not bad at all, if we take into account the highly successful – usually sold out – Australian tour.
Related information survey has revealed that Mildlife have several (at least six) years on their backs as a live band and their members have almost zero participation in other musical projects, which personally intrigued me. It creates a sense that the final result will sound compact as a result of the chemistry of the musicians.
A contemporary version of the past
Within the 40 minutes of the duration of Phase, the quartet of young musicians puts their own musical proposal and yes, indeed, these guys are not afraid to experiment and they are particularly interesting. The band’s line-up seems to be simple: guitar, bass, analog synthesizer and vocals.
The opening, almost nine-minute The Magnificent Moon, which was also chosen as a single, is a revelation. Based on jazz, it takes us back to the 1970s, where, apart from these sounds, there was also funk and disco. A great basic melody unfolds with the help of the synthesizer. The vocals are mild and rather accompanying the music, but in this style they seem to fit more than anything alternative. Surely this is the perfect song for the first contact with the Australians.
Zwango Zop that follows is a composition that lets funk and disco take the lead and is perhaps my least favorite in the album without being bad. At Im Blau, jazzy playing is accompanied by stunning melodies and the robotic vocal styles bring effortlessly Daft Punk to mind. Moody atmosphere, a psychedelic flute appears abruptly and yet gently and leads to a gorgeous guitar solo. Magnificent song. Personally speaking, the best composition in Phase.
Phase and Two Horizons which follow, introduce ambient and kraut elements and with the space-electronic atmosphere being diffused, both exude a sweet feel, while The Gloves Don’t Bite which closes the record is basically a synopsis of the different influences of the album.
Two things are achieved through controlled improvisations. On the one hand the groove is kept in high levels and on the other hand the album rolls evenly and pleasantly. It does not sound the least tiring, while the clear production and the whole analogue sound contribute to highlighting each instrument, and thus the great technical skills of the musicians.
Mildlife are courageous musicians who dare to experiment. Perhaps their decision to release an EP with electronic versions of their songs was taken in this context .
The cosmic journey in Phase is one of the most enjoyable of the year. Four well-trained musicians who enthralled different influences and sounds in their kaleidoscope. A modern band that sounds as if it came straight from the 70s without a trace of anachronism and pretence.
8 / 10