Faces of the Night

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Experimental yet cute, fantastical, and freewheeling, Flying's Faces of the Night feels like it comes "from a world that's hidden in a cloud," which they sing about on "Double-Hearted Clown." The band's whimsical sound is more focused this time than it was on Just-One-Second-Ago-Broken Eggshell, but Flying's outbursts and sweetly spacy moments still recall the Curtains and former tourmates Deerhoof, especially on "Body Bent," which pairs little-girl vocals with bashed-out rhythms. Noise rock, folk-pop, and funk are all grist for Flying's musical mill, and the wah-wah guitar on "Stains" and the loping bassline that pins down "Firetruck"'s saxophone and synth workouts make Faces of the Night occasionally feel like an extremely lysergic children's album from the '70s. Sometimes things get too precious: "A Cloud in Doubt" and "Double-Hearted Clown" are almost too sweet and fanciful for their own good. While Flying's childlike moments are sometimes a weakness, more often than not they're the band's greatest strength, particularly on some of Faces of the Night's more mysterious songs. "Fear of Flying" is a standout, condensing all the fear and hope of being someone small who wants to become someone great into just two and a half minutes. "Draw It in the Dark" owes its dreamlike haze to the immediately recognizable sound of the Optigan, and "Morning Song" just might be the cheeriest song ever written about the world's eventual end. Flying sometimes feel lost in their own elliptical orbit, but their world is charmingly strange and ultimately peaceful. Giving their music just a little more clarity wouldn't remove any of the band's mystery -- if anything, it would just add to the wonder that Faces of the Night already has in abundance.

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