Grizzly Bear man's debut solo album delivers architecturally grand music, both opulent and labyrinthine, registering as a genuinely transporting, multi-dimensional song cycle Daniel Rossen has maintained more of a low key presence over recent years. Grizzly Bear, the band he made his name with, last released an album back in 2017 and have effectively been on hiatus since. In the intervening years the only new music we've heard from Rossen was Deerslayer, a single he released in 2018 for Record Store Day.
The problem faced by artists that come to define an era in music, however populist or niche it may be, is that the same era begins to define them too. For Grizzly Bear, that era was the Brooklyn indie boom of the early millennium, one characterized by soft, even timorous vocal harmonies, and lightly-picked folk guitar; a time where their breakthrough 2009 single "Two Weeks" seemed as unavoidable as tightly buttoned shirts and limp cardigans. Far from zeitgeist chasers, the band survived well past the inevitable pop of that particular bubble, honing their cadre of instrumental expertise and adding nuance to their elaborate walls of psychedelic folk, but when 2017's Painted Ruins saw the four-piece necessarily recording separately by dint of the band's geographical split, it seemed like the writing might be on the wall.
Photograph by Amelia Bauer You Belong There by Daniel Rossen Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen weaves elaborate jazz-inflected guitar parts into the richly rendered patchwork of his main band's sound. On his full-length solo debut, You Belong There, which arrives ten years after the Silent Hour / Golden Mile EP, Rossen's virtuosic guitar lines and vividly conceived arrangements are given free rein, tempered by the lyrical musings of a man who appears deeply concerned about the human condition. This translates into an emotionally turbulent 45 minutes of music, which leaves the listener feeling, in turns, invigorated and exhausted.
While having accrued almost 20 years of experience contributing towards the distinct sonic vision of Grizzly Bear, it is clear that Daniel Rossen now stands defiantly on his own two feet. His move from rural upstate New York to the high desert climbs of Sante Fe emblematic of the transition from collaboration to an independent creative process, Rossen redefines the boundaries of musical imagination with his long-awaited, wholly confident debut LP 'You Belong There'. Featuring finessed acoustic arrangements with genuine musical integrity, an overarching folk backbone, and tightly woven vocal harmonies that reinforce the poignancy of introspection, the album leads the listener down a mesmerising rabbit hole, and out the other side.