"In Ear Park" by Department Of Eagles
Department Of Eagles' first effort, The Cold Nose (a.k.a. The Whitey On The Moon UK LP), was an unassuming collection of down-tempo instrumentals, squiggly electronic pop, and even the odd hip-hop goof—it was fun in a "friends fucking around" way, but too unfocused to be memorable. If In Ear Park sounds like the work of a different band, that's because it is: In between, songwriter Daniel Rossen joined avant-folk group Grizzly Bear, then returned to DOE co-founder Fred Nicolaus with multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor and percussionist Chris Bear in tow. (With three-quarters of Grizzly Bear represented, it may as well be rechristened Department Of Ed Droste's Not Here.) Although Rossen supposedly used In Ear Park to explore songs outside the mold of his main gig, there's little evidence here to bear that out. The title track's woodwind flutters and acoustic trills, the haunted doo-wop of "No One Does It Like You," the minor-chord gallop of "Around The Bay"—all readily replicate Yellow House's shifting, autumnal moods and dizzying atmospherics, much to their credit. There are minor quibbles: Rossen, a fan of skewed pop pastiche in the tradition of Van Dyke Parks, translates his affinity for Tin Pan Alley too literally on the cheesy "Teenagers," and cannibalizes his own "Little Brother" on "Phantom Other." But in the absence of a new Grizzly Bear album, In Ear Park provides a valuable service while showcasing Rossen as a skilled composer and arranger in his own right.