For a while, it seemed like Silent Hour/Golden Mile would never seen the light of day. Daniel Rossen, of Grizzly Bear and Department Of Eagles, spent his post-Veckatimest days in a creative funk, isolating himself and contemplating if he even wanted to make music anymore. But he did find his way back in time and pushed himself to finish his solo debut. But don’t think that this is an obligation album; Rossen is refreshed here and happy to be back. Summing up the album’s theme on opener “Up On High,” Rossen says relieved, “Finally feel free/To sing for me.”
If you were coming into this album blindfolded, it wouldn’t be a surprise to think it was new Grizzly Bear material. After all, unlike Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor’s R&B side project, Silent Hour/Golden Mile isn’t really a departure from the beautifully crafted songs on Veckatimest, which makes it clear how important Rossen is to his various musical outfits. Much like his other work, Rossen’s wavering voice serves as the backbone to the album. Also recognizable will be Rossen’s guitar, which alternates between Elliott Smith-like acoustic strums to more confident riffs that recall George Harrison. Rossen is at his best, though, when he’s at his poppiest. “Silent Song” is an expansive and breezy standout from the album that causes Rossen to reflect, “If I had a chance to see/The friends I’ve loved and lost/I’d beg for their return.” Rossen’s sprawling pop coupled with his subtly personal lyrics gives the album a bittersweet flavor that makes for some very impressive moments. The fact that he can churn out these Veckatimest-level tunes on his own bodes well for his future if Grizzly Bear or Department Of Eagles ever decides to become extinct.
Silent Hour/Golden Mile seems to have been a cathartic experience for Rossen. On the album’s closer, “Golden Mile,” he declares, “There is bliss in this mess.” It’s unclear as to what the mess is exactly, but Rossen sounds at peace. And who wouldn’t be after this? The five tracks on the album, which originally started as Grizzly Bear demos, are great displays of what Rossen is capable of. If this EP is any indication of what Grizzly Bear is up to for its upcoming album, then it should be a good year.