Department Of Eagles - Archive 2003 - 2006

An interesting listen, with five out of the eleven tracks here mere sketches.

Much praise has been put upon this album of mostly unreleased material from the band formed by Grizzly Bear member Daniel Rossen, Department Of Eagles. What it actually it amounts to is something more akin to a slightly ramshackle collection of cut offs and leftovers between the years that Grizzly Bear formed and started to gain momentum.

At only half an hour in length, ‘Archive 2003 - 2006’ makes for an interesting listen, with five out of the eleven tracks here mere sketches – not quite finished songs, ideas and sounds that formed the foundations of material that would eventually find its way onto 2008’s album proper – ‘In Ear Park’. For this reason, listening is a sporadic experience, flitting between demo quality skits that are barely long enough to hold your attention (‘Practice Room Sketch 1’) to full-on heartache melodies, as seen in ‘Golden Apple’.

‘Flip’ is a nervously edgy, skirting the edges of dark psychedelic folk rock with vocals not a hundred miles away from what Elliot Smith sounded like on his ‘XO’ album; ‘While We’re Young’ is a beautiful piece of musical craftsmanship, ebbing and flowing with a laid back summer vibe that hints at deeper melancholy within itself.

For the most part this is a fine collection of frequently beautiful but often underdeveloped sounds that will appeal to few outside of their existing fan base. It’s experimental melodies means that it’s hard to view this as a finished piece of work in any guise, but a beguiling listen nonetheless.

Tags: Department Of Eagles, Reviews, Album Reviews

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