Best of 2008: #18, Department of Eagles

Rank: #18
Album: In Ear Park
Artist: Department of Eagles
Label: 4AD

The countdown rolls on at #18, with Department of Eagles' In Ear Park.  This album departs from the heavy use of electronics seen on the band's previous recordings, perpetuating their sound to an enjoyable indie-folk rock buzz, with an electronic backing.  Call it "folktronica" if you must, though I hate the ever-growing list of genre classifications, but the fact is that this record is an expansive and memorable exploration into the mind of Daniel Rossen, whom you probably know from Grizzly Bear.  Though Rossen was part of DoE first, due to the time gap between DoE full-lengths (over three years) and Grizzly Bear's heightened visibility on the indie rock scene and beyond, this band is considered the side project.

What captures me about this album is the mood is able to capture the listener.  The record opens up with the title track, "In Ear Park", a somber and active piece that uses a simple piano and percussion beat to perfection, while creating a sort of airy backwoods atmosphere- alluding to the cover of the album.  It's almost throught-provoking, really.  As it fades out, it immediately changes gears to "No One Does It Like You", which has a nostalgic quality all its own, with its tambourine and bass backing.  I could see the intro of this one ending up on an Itunes commercial, but let's hope not.  The fact that this album took nearly four years to record is none too surprising, as it was obviously constructed by attention to careful detail, and a real focus on creating an ambient, thoughtful, and relaxed mood.  If you're looking for comparisons on this one, check out Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and Deerhunter.  I won't stretch and say that this applies to ALL of Animal Collective's stuff though- I think Feels or Sung Tongs more than anything else.  Maybe it's just me.

Best Track: "No One Does It Like You"

No One Does It Like You - Department of Eagles

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Mberenis said...
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