As the title suggests, this isn’t an album with the contemporary in mind. A collection of the rag-tag musical meanderings of Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus, it captures the rawer side of Department of Eagles’ earlier, experimental output. It’s an album that sighs and heaves with exertion and exhaustion – as much as it does the fleeting moments of real ethereal beauty – cataloguing the struggle of marathon recording sessions, alien recording equipment and efforts to conquer full string arrangements. There are flashes of the pop sensibility that made ‘In Ear Park’ grandly compelling, and although it’s a fascinating story, complete with previously unreleased tracks, the combination still makes for a largely uninspiring amalgamation of one band’s failed endeavour. A stepping stone, perhaps, but in Department of Eagles’ case, you’re better off just taking the two steps forward.

By Nathan Westley

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