After yesterday’s exploration of SoCal reverb entrepreneur Deserta, a.k.a. Matt Doty, I opted to check out one of his non-shoegaze efforts, the quite different post-punk/new wave flourished Midnight Faces.
I honestly didn’t get much farther than the single “Blue Haze,” before I knew with certainty that this was the track that’d make this post. It’s an absolute scorcher of an intro to their third and most recent 2016 LP “Heavenly Bodies,” which is probably why I never made it beyond, opting instead to hear it again and again, before moving ahead.
“Blue Haze” is just a bright burst of brilliance, an instantly likeable, listenable uptempo concoction of rhythmic rapid-fire mania, euphoric and mood-driven all at once, cruising at a 100 miles an hour with slick searing guitar oscillations and power-pop percussion. It couldn’t be any further from Deserta’s cavernous anthems of infinite resonance.
But that’s okay. “Blue Haze,” or for that matter, anything by Midnight Faces, seems squarely aimed at the straight and narrow, shooting for the familiar, while still adding a twist and shout on top. It won’t quite captivate your ears in the immersive deep dive that is Deserta. But it will keep you bopping along its slipstream songcraft, brimming with tantalizing melodies, engaging at a swifter velocity and aural aesthetic.
If I was to offer any likeminded comparisons, I’d say this particular track from Midnight Faces offers a more buoyant flavor of Cologne’s coldwave Holygram, or a slightly smoother style of Finnish post-punkers The Holy. I didn’t actually intend to liken these L.A. locals to two acts with the name “holy” in them. But sometimes, that’s how it goes.
Alongside Doty, Midnight Faces is comprised of drummer Paul Doyle and singer/bassist Philip Stancil, who’s crisp widescreen vocals, albeit affected in moderate delay, lend a sharper coat of accessibility amongst the propulsive drive of “Blue Haze.”
There’s really not much more to it than that. I’ve given the rest of “Heavenly Bodies” a listen, now that I’ve exhausted my response to “Blue Haze,” and it’s pretty darn good. It isn’t quite the all-in blistering affair that this one radiates. But for the most part, Midnight Faces keep things on the up and up.
I’ll leave that for you to uncover on your own. Here’s the Midnight Faces’ single that ensnared me into an endless loop of repeat listens, “Blue Haze.”
“Blue Haze” from the 2016 album “Heavenly Bodies.”