The name Darby Cicci chose for his solo work away from his day job in The Antlers refers to a group of rather well-known literary types, including Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe, who - aside from working on their own illustrious careers, of course - were allegedly the collective source of the works of William Shakespeare. The School of Night name could be a sly nod by Cicci to his contribution to The Antlers as the definitive multi-instrumentalist, and also as producer of the band's last two records Bust Apart and Undersea. He's very much just in the shadow of singer/guitarist Pete Silberman, so while this solo project gives him the chance to perform his own compositions it might also show that The Antlers is very much a "band", and not a one-man show.

There's also a chance the name of Cicci's project might reflect the roots of the music on the School of Night EP which, as he admits himself, comes from "playing synths in the dark" for periods of time in 2011 and 2012. This blind experience seems to have freed up Cicci to explore the sounds he likes to make which, perhaps not surprisingly, aren't too far removed from what he might have been making with The Antlers. Much like that band, this EP is a sumptuous and layered affair yet there's a gentle playfulness that removes the intensity found on the likes of Burst Apart. Burbling synths and sparkling electronics are the order of the day as opening track 'Lying' begins proceedings; sampled soaring backing vox don't crowd Cicci's own lovely and welcoming croon, one that's finally getting a deserved solo after contributing heavenly backing vocals to Silberman for so long in The Antlers. For something apparently constructed in the dark, it's a very bright and positive opening, and followed quickly by the elegant piano and trumpet ballad 'Doktor' it's obvious that Cicci is putting some clear daylight between School of Night and The Antlers. Again, on this track his voice is a delight and the simple percussive backing gives weight to the gossamer lightness of the song.

'Fire Escape' is another trumpet-based track, this time with swirling ambience and subtle guitar line that crawls slowly into focus as Cicci sings intently: "come closer...I need to hear you breathe" and then, almost as a warning, "keep your eyes on the road." This is a sinister turn musically, and the tone is kept for the following track, the mournfully brassy 'Play Dead': minor piano chords and cymbal splashes make for a track that points towards some kind of emotional apex but never quite unloads like you might expect... although it's still very rewarding. Final track 'Vacuum' returns to the gentler feel of the earlier tracks, a soaring song that lets Cicci's voice handle all the fancy stuff, leaving the trumpet and a killer piano line to do the lovely background work. At seven minutes long, it doesn't feel like nearly enough.

How much time Cicci can devote to School of Night I guess depends a lot on what The Antlers are working on, but given the quality and promise of these five lovely songs it'd be a real shame if we were to miss out a full album due to something as mundane as "time constraints".