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Department of Eagles 

The Whitey on the Moon UK LP

Wednesday, Aug 11 2004
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If you're going to call yourself Iron Chrysalis and Butterfly Emerging, you'd better make music that's damn good and weird. Luckily, the two New Yorkers in Department of Eagles have crafted a debut record that's as strangely goofy as their names. On "The Horse You Ride," the pair mixes a Mayan flute loop with spastic percussion and raucous tribal chants and comes off sounding like Radiohead with a sense of humor. Elsewhere, the duo (one of whom is originally from Berkeley) offers synthesizer drone-pop, sultry trip-hop, piano ballads riddled with cacophonous beats, and the tipsy electronica of "Noam Chomsky Spring Break 2002." (Now, there's an image!) But, the best track may be "Forty Dollar Rug," which merges a female choir, a Latin hip hop beat, a British-accented singer, and a skanking guitar riff, all without sounding overly clever or busy. Considering their names, it's no surprise that the members of Department of Eagles excel at transforming oddness into godness.

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Dan Strachota

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