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Silent Hour / Golden Mile - EP

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iTunes Review

The 2012 EP by Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen, Silent Hour/Golden Mile, features material intended for the next Grizzly Bear album. It's a refocus for Rossen, centering on the emotive and artsy underpinnings that made the Bear's earliest material so engrossing. Always in danger of being overdone by ornate musicianship, Rossen's songs are here kept to a minimum of fuss (by his standards). The overpronounced bass guitar of "Up on High" adds to the attractively askew arrangement, which also features orchestration that's kept tidily in the background. "Silent Song" adds slide guitar pinched from the George Harrison school, while "Golden Mile" goes a stretch further in evoking the ex-Beatle's solo work, with a vocal and arrangement that could place it on All Things Must Pass. "Saint Nothing" is curiously reminiscent of Harrison's bandmate Paul McCartney, with a piano ballad that sounds like a lost early-'70s deep album cut. Despite these obvious reference points, Rossen is a distinct individual who's arguably at his best on his own.

Customer Reviews

Unexpectedly beautiful

Behind the instant radio ready likability of “Two Weeks” Grizzly Bear’s break through 2009 LP Veckatimest could be an intensely challenging record for no other reason that it dared to be perfect. Silent Hour/Golden Mile, is a small collection of songs that seem like they could only be made by members of the band who made the aforementioned album.

Silent Hour/Golden Mile starts and finishes as a record of Rossen’s distinctive guitar playing style and his confident striking vocals but does contain one striking detour. In the middle of it all Rossen drops “Saint Nothing” on us. “Saint Nothing” is a terribly anxious piano song that if anyone else played could run the risk of feeling insincere or even cheesy but Rossen manages to make it feel nothing of the sort. The subtle, background additions of what sounds like an orchestra trying to join in somewhere far away in the distance, ad an unsettling element to the song and transform it to a weird hybrid of a mournful solo campfire song and orchestra backed epic. It’s becomes the true experiment within the record and makes the triumphant return to pure Rossen guitar backed magic on the closing track “Golden Mile” feel even more expansive.

This record is only five tracks long clocking in at a mere 23 minutes but considering the intensity it reaches at the peak of “Saint Nothing” you feel like if the record was any longer it would crumble under it’s own weight. Apart from The Shin’s James Mercer nobody this year has tried this hard to make such a perfect collection of songs, but I can say with confidence Rossen has been more successful. Where the Shin’s new record gets caught up in the production side of things and often is overcome by the cheesiest of lyrics and moments seemingly made for playing to packed stadiums, Rossen’s record feels like an incredibly personal statement that you almost couldn’t imagine being recreated live.

This EP is certainly another “difficult” record, its constant grasps for perfection can feel alienating at times and I fear it will face the same criticisms that Veckatimest did. The easiest thing to draw from it is Rossen is a songwriter in the truest sense of the word and it’s pretty easy to sit back and admire how close this record came to achieving that impossible task that Veckatimest set out to achieve a few years ago.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A distinctive and prolific songwriter, Daniel Rossen performs with Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles, and as a solo artist. The grandchild of director Robert Rossen, he was born in Los Angeles on August 5, 1982 and began making music in earnest in 2000, when he became a roommate of Fred Nicolaus at New York University during their freshman year. The duo began writing and recording as Whitey on the Moon UK, ultimately changing their name to Department of Eagles a few years and EPs later. In 2004,...
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Silent Hour / Golden Mile - EP, Daniel Rossen
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