A beautiful swell of experimental folk
The songs of In Ear Park, the sophomore effort from Grizzly Bear's Dan Rossen and his college classmate Fred Nicolaus, are not so much heard as absorbed. After repeated listens, the densely layered and often distorted instrumentals begin to parse themselves out, the hooks of “Floating on The Lehigh” proving particularly arresting. Dedicated to Rossen's recently-deceased father, the title a nod to the Los Angeles park they used to visit together, the album is more nostalgic than mournful; on occasion, like the lighthearted and impossibly catchy "No One Does It Like You," it's downright jaunty. The artfully paced “Classical Records” is a stand-out, beginning sparse and haunting before growing into a crush of piano and percussion. Some songs are more memorable than others (“Teenagers” too closely recalls “Teen Angel,” while “Herring Bone” largely registers as background music despite some gorgeous piano playing), but the less compelling tracks still have enough melodic twists to hold interest. Harmonic and ethereal, there's something comforting in the album's sonic charge, with its folksy beauty seeping in like crisp autumn air through an open window.