New York – If Mac Demarco replaced all of those cigarettes with joints, he would be Alex Brettin, the founder and talisman of Mild High Club. Brettin and his five-piece, L.A. based band brought dreamy vibes to Baby’s Alright on Wednesday night, showcasing the band’s hip style and chilled out attitude to the packed Brooklyn club. Normally, I wouldn’t employ such cliches, but when five glassy eyed dudes with mustaches serenade you with neo-psychedelic tunes for 45 minutes, it’s tough to think anything but, “That was chill, bro.”
Sporting two sexy 12-string guitars which were complimented by plenty of chorus, reverb, and wah on both pedal boards, the night started with an extended hazy version of “Club Intro.” While the warmth and nostalgia surrounding the older tunes was palpable, the night was more about debuting new material from recently released new album Skiptracing (Stones Throw). “On to the new stuff,” Brettin said as the groovy drum machine sample from the title track lead the band into the first of a few new tunes. “Let’s bring up Allison, an original member of the Mild High Club.” The male-female vocals on “Skiptracing” were a perfect introduction to the more refined sound Brettin created on the new album.
Aside from one or two faster songs, the set was filled mainly will slow burners reminiscent of a Mac Demarco – but track pitched way the fuck down. Couples mingled and made out as Brettin’s voice climbed just slightly over the instrumentation, with his nasally inflection capturing the almost cartoon like spirit of his style. Brettin’s obsession with Sgt. Peppers shone through on the new tracks, with psychedelic application of white noise samples alongside carnivalesque keys and sleigh bells on the outro of “Homage” producing a particularly “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” vibe. For the most part, however, the extended jams and use of the classic rock organ created a style reminiscent of Let It Be or dare I say even Ray Manzarek.
In between songs, Alex was cool and comfortable, once again emitting a less vibrant Demarco attitude while occasionally switching between instruments on stage. In one such scenario, he switched to a synthesizer for a jazzy cover dedicated to Jarvis from Woods (who himself was once teased on MTV by former Demarco bassist Pierce). While Brettin’s solo was less than spectacular, his spontaneity in cutting the jam short distracted the audience from the less than tight interlude. “I think that’s enough from me,” he said before the band dwindled out of the groovy drum and bass vignette.
The experience at Baby’s was proper, to say the least, as you never really expect to be blown away by such a laid back band. Many of the jazz interludes and funky basslines seem more appropriate for NPR commercial outros rather than main stages. Nevertheless, by the end of the night you’ll find yourself slightly addicted to Brettin’s attitude and choruses, whistling his vocal melodies as you hop into your Uber home. As Brettin said himself, “Once you join the Mild High Club, you never want to leave.”
Skiptracing is available for purchase HERE. Follow Mild High Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow Best New Bands on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Read our interview with Alex Brettin HERE.
Photo Credit: Isaac Sterling