I guess if there’s an emerging newish music in Uncut’s world, it’s a kind of gauzy, harmonious strain of Americana typified this year by the Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes albums and, a little while back, by the second Grizzly Bear album. I trust you’re not sick of this stuff, because there’s another good one on the way.

I guess if there’s an emerging newish music in Uncut’s world, it’s a kind of gauzy, harmonious strain of Americana typified this year by the Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes albums and, a little while back, by the second Grizzly Bear album. I trust you’re not sick of this stuff, because there’s another good one on the way.



Department Of Eagles are actually a Grizzly Bear spin-off of some kind, and “In Ear Park” is their second album. I have vague and not-hugely positive memories of the first one, “The Cold Nose”, which I dismissed at the time as mildly quirky indie-rock. This one, though, is very much on-trend, and very much in the vein of Grizzly Bear’s ravishing “Yellow House”.

The vocals are high and quavering, a more orthodox melodic take on that Animal Collective schtick. The musical backing is somehow at once frail and lush: pianos drift in and out of a dazed dreamscape of acoustic guitars and banjos. Occasionally, as on “Waves Of Rye” or “Floating On The Lehigh”, there’s a massed momentum that’s reminiscent of Mercury Rev at their most pretty and unsteady.

At other times, Department Of Eagles conjure up a sound which calls to mind an overgrown Tin Pan Alley, a sepia-tinted woodland idyll. The last person I can remember trying this sort of thing is Richard Swift on “The Novelist”, and “Teenagers” here could almost have been lifted from that nostalgic, crotchety concept album. “Herring Bone”, too, is comparable to Swift, chiefly because it shares Swift’s evident love of Paul McCartney’s more tender and less showy piano ballads.

“In Ear Park” often, as you can probably tell, feels like the work of a band experimenting with different styles while sustaining a dominant aesthetic mood; “No One Does It” even hijacks a Motown beat and makes it sound just as bucolic as the surrounding tracks. Fortunately, though, Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen are too artful to make it all sound like an exercise in pastiche. It’s a lovely record, in fact.