Daniel Rossen's main act, Grizzly Bear, are unexpectedly popular, hitting the Billboard top 10 and provoking name-drops from such culturally disparate figures as Jay-Z and Michael McDonald. So why was In Ear Park, the 2008 sophomore effort from Department of Eagles, Rossen's side project with college roommate Fred Nicolaus, so criminally overlooked? Perhaps it was because of the nature of Rossen's songcraft itself. From his winding, unconventional guitar-led melodies to his tendency to prefer lyrical obtuseness, a whole album of material heavy on his participation can come off as overly arch and severe.
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