Home Music Music Album Reviews

Mildlife’s ‘Automatic’ Is an Exercise in Euphoria

Melbourne outfit Mildlife have delivered something truly stunning with ‘Automatic’

Image of Mildlife

Tom Ross*

Hearing Mildlife for the first time provides the sort of euphoric experience that countless people chase with hallucinogens, transcendental meditation, and even religion.

For the Melbourne collective though, their mind-altering music is just business as usual, and proves their status as an otherworldly force on the local live scene. Coming two years after the release of their critically-acclaimed record Phase, Mildlife’s Automatic is a kaleidoscopic journey into the minds of these talented individuals.

Consisting of just six tracks that span a masterful 40 minutes, Automatic is an atmospheric mix of groove-driven psychedelic progressive jazz that shifts between moods as effortlessly as it does instruments. As dazzling basslines intertwine with slinky synths and the cleanest guitar lines imaginable, tracks like lead single “Rare Air” sound like a mix between electronic icons Boards Of Canada and Aussie psych heroes Tame Impala, while “Vapour” would effortlessly sit alongside records by Yes and Jethro Tull. 

Having been dubbed a “space-kraut-jazz outfit” in the past, it would be easy for this genre-defying group to revel in their own grandeur, becoming self-indulgent between each of the album’s tracks as they deliver endless solos that showcase their virtuosity.

However, part of Automatic’s charm lies within its restraint, with every single passage clearly having been carefully nurtured on the live stage, allowing this perfectly-crafted record to grow and flourish organically, without once overstepping its boundaries and wearing out its welcome.

While it’s easy for bands to fail to live up to the hype following a powerful debut, Mildlife may indeed be one of those rare groups who manage to exceed expectations, creating the record of a lifetime with Automatic.