There is bliss in this mess / There is madness all around,” Daniel Rossen utters in “Golden Mile,” off his first solo EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile. There is bliss with twangy acoustic guitar plucks that brighten the slow-treading melancholic piano riffs, while the tiers of symphonic instruments create an intricate madness.
Throughout most of the songs, Rossen sits on a fulcrum, dipping between the classical — with horns, violins and choir-backed harmonies — and the alternative with electro guitar flecks. “Return to Form” marries ’60s guitar streaks reminiscent of The Beatles circa Sergeant Pepper, and trickling Persian santur sounds.
Rossen’s effortless vocals dangle under falsettos and fray at the ends of his notes to create a gritty texture to the harrowing lyrics. In “Silent Song,” over bluesy guitar blurbs, Rossen conjures chilling imagery about someone “rising from the field” and later mournfully confesses, “If I had a chance to see the friends I’ve loved and lost, I’d pray for their return.”
In “Golden Mile,” the listener tumbles on raw banjo-sounding strums and shifting electric guitar undercurrents, only to be cradled by Rossen’s delicate voice at the chorus, and then thrown back out in a torrent of steady violins.
The cover art encapsulates the album’s vibe — a stark image of a canyon wall dipped in a blue hue. The sound is not oppressively somber but the touch of anguish sparks intrigue. Like the rock wall, it is filled with endless crevices and pockets of instruments, tugging the listener back to dissect the dizzying mix again and again.