After I heard Flying’s 2006 debut album Just-One-Second-Ago-Broken-Eggshell, I swore that I would tell everyone I knew about the album. I may have let a few possible opportunities for recommending this album fall through the cracks, but barring the knowledge that few people I know outside of my homies here at Treble purchase as much music as I do, I think I did a pretty good job of getting word out. That said, I’m not sure everyone heard me the first time. Well, now seems as good a time as any, considering the group is offering up a new album titled Faces of the Night, and the magical band that won me over in the first place hasn’t run out of its wonderful pixie dust.
On Faces of the Night, Flying hasn’t lost any of their oddball charm, though they have taken some steps toward greater accessibility. There’s more than a touch of Tropicalia in the metallic folk-n-clang of leadoff track “One-Eyed Son,” as the group does Gil, Veloso and Os Mutantes (and Syd Barrett) proud. “A Cloud in Doubt” is a warmer song full of pulsating organ and mystical touches of guitar, sounding incredibly dense cast against the group’s sweetly harmonized vocals. “The Wrong Hearts” is a hard song not to love, galloping along with jangling guitar and Sara Magenheimer’s lovely and innocent coo. The band even gets super funkafied on “Stains,” plugging in the wah-wah pedal and drawing out a dramatic syncopation between verses to badass effect.
“Fear of Flying” isn’t so much a song that will make you afraid of the band, but awestruck by their incredible talent. This epic ballad is the band’s most ambitious song, and as such, one of their best. With “Body Bent,” Flying beefs up their sound for an even more intense and rocking arrangement, fading out for a calm and hushed verse that occasionally teases yet never hurries itself back toward rocking out once again. Of course, eventually it does explode back into a blazing crash of organ and drums, and it’s a thing to behold.
Faces of the Night is the next logical step for Flying, taking their childlike eccentricities and maturing them ever so slightly. Their more erratic tendencies have been funneled into prettier melodies, while their playful side is as dominant as ever. So, if you didn’t get the message the first time around, this is a great band, now with two great albums. I suppose it’s time to break out the address book.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.