When Mildlife’s debut album, ‘Phase’, was released in 2018 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. By the end of 2018 they’d been nominees for Best Album at the Worldwide FM Awards (Worldwide’s Gilles Peterson was a notable champion) and won Best Electronic Act at The Age Music Victoria Awards back home in Melbourne. Their progress post-‘Phase’ was cemented with a UK deal with Jeff Barrett’s Heavenly, who released ‘How Long Does It Take?’. With ‘Automatic’, the band have made a step-change from their debut. It’s more disciplined, directional and more danceable. As on ‘Phase’, they are unafraid to let a track luxuriate in length without ever succumbing to selfindulgence. 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.