Since November 2010, the end of Grizzly Bear’s touring round for Veckatimest, Daniel Rossen’s major contributions to music were put on a minor creative hold, which is fair considering how dense of an effort Veckatimest ended up being. That album contained a certain grandiosity that was always gleaming through, especially on songs like “I Live With You.” It was an event that channeled the ambitions of each member, where everyone was shooting miles high on instrumental and lyrical levels. Daniel Rossen, before Veckatimest and Yellow House, held a more introverted type of musicianship with his other project Department of Eagles, the easiest comparable entity to Silent Hour/Golden Mile, his solo debut EP.
Unfortunately, I’ve never really had the luxury of getting to know Rossen in a sort of single capacity. I gathered what I could from Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, but I believe it’s important for everyone to know the capabilities of this ultra-talented songwriter, and on this EP he does a damn good job showing it off by himself.
The EP opens with a jubilant strum in a somewhat low-production manner, which climbs out of itself into a significantly heavier and clearer-sounding song. Daniel Rossen’s voice comes in, absolutely confident and welcome after years without any sort of recording, and with this voice, he leads a swath of great songs. Though his singing is both powerful and recognizable, his outstanding feature is the ability to write such meticulously prepared songs, that, from him, appear effortless. He is careful in such a way that isn’t uptight or forced, he just works hard for good tracks, and that’s nothing new.
“Silent Song,” a particularly notable piece on Silent Hour / Golden Mile, is sentimental and complex, and unexpectedly ends up being a jam track for Rossen. As enjoyable as it is to hear his elaborate acoustics, there is a certain thrill to hearing Rossen just shred out a rock song, which happens more than once. “Golden Mile,” the EP’s beautifully composed conclusion, gives me the idea that it’s not the last time we’ll hear from Daniel Rossen’s solo stint, but rather that we’re going to hear more of his great input in the future, wherever he may grace.
As exceptional as this EP is, the tracking seems mismatched. The transition between the Veckatimest-like “Return to Form” and “Golden Mile” is “Saint Nothing,” a low-noted piano track that worked in its own context. It absolutely fits on the EP and is still a gem of a song, but its presence after “Return to Form” feels a tad lopsided after the heaviness that escalated just minutes before. This feeling evaporates toward the middle of “Saint Nothing” and doesn’t stop kicking until it’s over.
There is much one could say about how this EP compares to Rossen’s past projects since that’s all he’s delivered to us, but he deserves more than that after accomplishing a great EP by himself. To a lot of standbys, he’s “the dude from Department of Eagles” or “the other guy that sings in Grizzly Bear,” but I believe it’s now fair to say he’s “Daniel Rossen” with little elaboration.