The Antlers – Burst Apart

Rating: ★★★★☆

Back in 2009, this band first made their way to the top of the Indie-scene with the release of their stunning album, Hospice, which graced the sound systems of many with its emotionally progressive lyrics and cathartic sound. With the release of Burst Apart, it feels as though this band has already been around for a long time, despite it only being their sophomore effort. While not as pressing as their last, this second release from the band shows appropriate growth for The Antlers.

On Hospice, they reminded me a bit of another Brooklyn band, The National, in their dark and somewhat dreary lyrics. Now, on this album, they seem to be a tad more focused on the aesthetic aspects rather than just the lyrics. The approach feels more ethereal and vague, giving out the sense of maturity and complexity. I’m not saying this band gave up their narrative writing in exchange for a smoother record. Rather, it’s just not as prevalent on this work. Take “I Don’t Want Love,” the opening song, for example: the sweeping guitars and the half falsetto of Peter Silberman flowing over the top of methodic drum beats. There is still that desire to throw away all emotionally caustic elements, but it simply enveloped inside the wail of the arching guitar; it’s a great opener for The Antlers.

They follow up their opener with “French Exit,” on which the sound transitions to an almost danceable beat. The bass resounds heavier, accompanied by some electronic elements to boot to make for a head-bobbing and foot tapping experience, which is not what one would quite expect from this band. After they follow this with “Parentheses,” the single from this album, The Antlers keep doling out hit after hit.

On numbers like “Rolled Together” you start with some ultra faint guitar drizzling in, and once again the strange, and oddly high-pitched wails of Silberman. They build upon themselves in this one; guitars trade places with the vocals until they mix and become one cohesive wave of elegance. They finish with “Putting The Dog To Sleep,” which sounds as dark as the title denotes. Silberman asks someone to “prove to me I’m not going to die alone,” and you can feel the demons that plague this man transmitted through his captivating lyrics.

Sonically, this band is quite strange. If you separated all of the elements that this band has and isolated them, they would sound weird and moody. However, when together, they weave into a blanket of comfort that is able to convey all sorts of feelings and release. I find it odd that The Antlers would release this now, one the brink of summertime, when it would have been the perfect late fall/early winter jam. Regardless, it’s an excellent work, worthy of listening at anytime of year.

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