Daniel Rossen - 'Silent Hour/Golden Mile'

The Brooklynite's solo EP is a fiercely ambitious effort

  • Release Date 19 Mar, 2012
  • Record Label Warp
  • Fact Daniel has previously worked with Grizzly Bear
8 / 10
When Marcus Mumford lies in bed late at night, Vicks VapoRub smeared across his chest, and listens to the music of Grizzly Bear, he must quietly weep. For a few years now, the Brooklyn chamber-folk outfit have summoned up grand vistas of the pastoral sublime, while the Mumfords et al make do with taking the funicular, all kitchen-sink arrangements and pasty-lad emoting.

Well, look away now Marcus, because the new EP from Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen is a truly grandiose effort. Made up of material originally intended for the next Grizzly Bear record, itself due later this year, ‘Silent Hour/Golden Mile’ was reportedly hatched in response to the directionlessness that swallowed the group after touring 2009 album ‘Veckatimest’.

What can we say, except that it clearly worked? “With your head full of stars that crowd all you see, sing for me/With your mouth full of stones grinding your teeth, speak for me”, croons Rossen, in his guarded sigh, on ‘Up On High’. He uses his crystal diction with an acoustic to pick a delicate path through a typically snaking arrangement, all silvery strings and epic drum hits like faraway thunder.

The bittersweet pop arrangement and fallen-angel falsettos of ‘Silent Song’ sound like middle-period Elliott Smith, a motif Rossen revisits on ‘Golden Mile’’s glass half-empty waltz, with lonesome touches of slide guitar seemingly half-inched off George Harrison.

‘Saint Nothing’ is an elegant ballad that recalls Paul McCartney at his most artily ambitious; it’s a beautiful song that reminds you why folk as revered as Paul Simon and Jonny Greenwood are so smitten with this guy. Rossen is a master craftsman – and one of the best songwriters in modern rock – and with ‘Silent Hour/Golden Mile’ he’s set the bar tantalisingly high for Grizzly Bear’s return.

Alex Denney

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