2006 Album Review :: Department Of Eagles – The Cold Nose
August 22nd 2013
On August 29, FBi hits double digits. To celebrate, the Flog is taking a trip down memory lane: we’re counting down 10 years of albums in 10 days. Cast your mind back to 2006…
2006: Department of Eagles – The Cold Nose
What the hell were Department of Eagles thinking when they put together The Cold Nose?
I mean, over the 18 tracks there are throwbacks to probably fifty genres as diverse as rap and tribal chanting. Before he began inventing freak folk with Grizzly Bear and in his solo project, Daniel Rossen teamed up with his NYU roommate, Fred Nicalous, to dig up tracks from their teens to make the topsy-turvy ride that is The Cold Nose. Originally released under the misleading name Whitey On The Moon UK in 2003, the duo was surprised by the reception it received abroad, and decided to re-issue the album in 2006 as Department of Eagles.
There is a boyish confidence to this record that screams:
“Listen! We can do every genre of music that ever existed, with every instrument ever made… aaand we can make it funny.”
While at times it doesn’t reach the desired effect, you can’t help but enjoy the fact they had the guts to try their hand at nearly everything that can be considered music in one tight package.
The Cold Nose is a debut album sounding very much like the bedroom project it was meant to be, a joke between friends that was never meant for public consumption. In Nicolaus’s own words, they only wanted songs that were “funny and weird.” From their dorm room, they used pirated software, their own eclectic beats, beatboxing and samples ripped from artists as diverse Regina Spektor and Phillip Glass.
Many of the songs are probably too bizarre for some to swallow, but Rossen’s virtuosity can’t help but shine through in tracks like ‘Family Romance’ and ‘Ghost in Summer Clothes’. The hit that never had its day, ‘Sailing By Night’ exposes Rossen’s folk singing brilliance with the backdrop of an intricate Nicolaus beat. Halfway through, kazoo of all instruments is used to harmonise, and hypnotising orchestral samples masks the transformation from folk to trance.
There are some truly funny songs to be enjoyed as well. ‘Forty Dollar Rug’ is a full-fledged rap track, with a hook that hollers:
Forty dollar rug.
Twenty dollar lamp
Tony Hawk 4
Others are more ambitious. The concept track, ‘The Curious Butterfly Realises He Is Beautiful’ represents the lifestyle of the butterfly, from the shady depths of the larval phase, through the meditative cocoon phase, the glorious flight, and the sharp cut of a presumably sudden death.
Personally, I can’t get enough of this album. It is possible to hear the journey of an artist as they experiment as much with themselves as their influences. It stands as proof that those tracks you’ve written with no audience in mind but yourself may be exactly what someone else is dying to hear.