Thursday, November 13, 2008

Album Review: "In Ear Park" by Department of Eagles

We're coming up on the end of 2008. I decided that this year, I'm finally going to actually try and listen to as many "significant" albums as possible and put together a "best of" list. So the new stuff is hitting my iTunes fast and furious, and there's a lot to like.

Department of Eagles' second album, In Ear Park, is one of the ones to like. In their follow-up to 2003's The Cold Nose (a lost gem of an album), they've really come up with a formula for beautiful music. Nose, brilliant as it was, was disjointed and immature. Each individual track carried some completely different idea, and the album as a whole suffered for its lack of cohesion. Park has no such problems. The indie experimentalists from Brooklyn have found their musical voice; it's simultaneously chilling and warm, tight and free.

The original band-members, Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen, welcome members of Rossen's other band, Grizzly Bear, to the mix and form a sort of hybrid of the two bands. The engine of ideas for DoE remains with its original members, but the tightness and psychedelic melancholy are influenced by Grizzly Bear.

The album is emotional and haunting, and strikingly beautiful. Have a listen to some of the sweet sweet magic here:

This is a pretty faithful live performance of the opening and title track. The album stays thoroughly interesting from beginning to end despite never rising to the playful energy of Nose. Other highlights include "Phantom Other", "Herringbone", and "Floating on the Lehigh", but the album is best appreciated as a whole. Not to spoil a surprise, but this album will surely make that top 10 list I'm working on.

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