Pee Wee Fist


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Peter Fitzpatrick, who later joined the genius alt-country outfit Clem Snide, flexed his less-rootsy side with Flying, an obscure yet worthwhile collection of avant-garde pop songs. More accurately, the tracks are either pop or avant-garde. "Pedicure" has a wit, bounce, and jangle to it worthy of Cracker; "Beauty & the Beats" is a dark ballad that could pass for a lost Leonard Cohen treasure. It's on the experimental pieces that Fitzpatrick seems to lose focus: "The Seeds of the Day" -- a bold album-opener at nearly nine minutes long -- shoots for atmosphere and lands on drone. "Let's Go (Deja Blue)" relies on the near-clichéd distorted-voice-spoken-word bridge. Vocally, the similarities to ex-Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus are uncanny, and he musters the same sloppy charm, particularly on "Chinese Star in Metal Shop." Flying is admirable because Fitzpatrick tries on so many personae (from the balladeer to the alt-rock goofus to the impassioned rock star), but it's the unassuming pop singer that suits best.

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