Laughing Boy has a mystical vibe that taps into something deeply frightening.
Matteah Baim’s first album, Death of the Sun, was a strange, hovering cloud. This second one feels more concrete, more visceral, and ends up feeling even stranger. The songs seem to be telling stories or creating their own mythology. That impression is fueled by the mood of the music, by a general feeling that we’re wandering in catacombs or a forest. The quiet, psychedelic music gets thick. It nods towards funk, towards Eastern music maybe, but it just as often nods off in a creepy way. There’s something about Laughing Boy that mystifies and unsettles even more than her first album. Baim can be singing a lovely if surreal hymn to nature, and it will make you want to hide. Something happens between the fourth and fifth tracks, “Birthdays” and “Bird of Prey” that will make you want to shed your skin and run. Overall, Laughing Boy has a mystical vibe that taps into something deeply frightening. Baim sings of memory and nature, and somehow it echoes the destruction of the world, the disappearance of the human soul. As she sings on the final song: “Looking at you / Watching a sad man with a baby / Temples fall down.”