Review : Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park
PitchforkmediaDepartment of Eagles have the kind of convoluted, meandering backstory that could squash a less compelling band. Before he joined Grizzly Bear in 2004, Daniel Rossen was splicing together samples and bits of unearthed sound with his NYU roommate, Fred Nicolaus; the duo's collages were released, in 2003, as Department of Eagles' eerie, twittering debut, The Cold Nose. That record was followed, in 2006, by a remix album and preceded by a series of vinyl-only singles, under the name Whitey and the Moon UK (also the original title of The Cold Nose). Not long after its release, Rossen partnered with Ed Droste and Grizzly Bear and the Department of Eagles project was put on hiatus-- until late 2007, when the DOE duo, now enlisting contributions from Rossen's Grizzly Bear brethren Chris Bear and Chris Taylor, began recording again.
Unlike Department of Eagles' earlier output, which was heavily focused on sound art and electronic pastiche, In Ear Park is a sprawling pop record (complete with guitars, piano, horns, banjo, and more) that evokes Sgt. Pepper's, Sung Tongs, Van Dyke Parks, and Gene Clark. Like any good sonic experiment, In Ear Park extends with each listen, and things that once sounded small-- the piano bits on "Teenagers", the opening fuzz of "No One Does It Like You", the noirish echoing footsteps sampled in "Classical Records"-- become epic on the fourth or fifth spin, as the album swells and expands....full text
LostatseaWhen contemporary artists attempt to recreate the music of an era that's known for a certain style, the effort often comes off as contrived. For Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus, the twosome behind Department of Eagles, evading this pitfall on their latest, In Ear Park, seems as effortless as their harmonious orchestrations.
Shortly after their first LP, 2003's daring Whitey on the Moon UK, Department of Eagles went on hiatus when Rossen made Grizzly Bear his full-time gig. In late 2007, the duo picked up their banjos and horns for In Ear Park, a sonic experiment that yields lush, artful, and somewhat disorienting pop.
Rossen and Nicolaus meld folkish indie with unconventional soul on the band's sophomore album, and what results is an expansive collection that is melodic and charmingly convoluted. The duo opts for drama with tunes that transition swiftly from wispy to threatening. "Classical Records" offers ominous stretches interspersed with powerful staccato, and the delicate "Waves of Rye" suddenly turns aggressive. Much is owed to the thumping string sections and the all-important baseline, both of which help make In Ear Park a compelling listen....full text
ThephoenixRare is the side project that outstrips the better-known band, but Dan Rossen, one of the main men of Grizzly Bear, does just that with his “other band,” Department of Eagles. In Ear Park improves on Grizzly Bear’s psychedelic folk æsthetic by both fleshing it out and making it more accessible. The orchestrated arrangements are impeccable, and the Beatles/Beach Boys–ian pop melodies are great. Rossen’s aching tenor conveys genuine sadness and yearning in “Phantom Other” and “Herring Bone”; the piano, harp, and cello on “Teenagers” create a pleasantly airy vibe. The clear standout, though, is the lead single, “No One Does It like You,” which trundles along with rattling percussion, hollow vocal harmonies, and staccato, overly reverbed guitars. Rossen sounds especially haunting and beautiful here, singing “I try so hard.” Nothing against Grizzly Bear, but I wouldn’t complain if this were all he did from now on....full text
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