Band of the Day

2011.10.05

The Antlers

Epic yet intimate soundscapes, bursting with earnest beauty
I’m not a puppy you take home, don’t bother trying to fix my heart.
lyrics from French Exit

Beginning as the solo project of singer-songwriter Peter Silberman in 2006, the Antlers are an experimental chamber-pop group from Brooklyn, New York. The group consists of Peter Silberman (vocals, guitar), Michael Lerner (drums, percussion) and Darby Cicci (keyboards, trumpet, banjo). The Antlers' sound is typified by its use of soprano vocals, eclectic rhythms, anthemic song structures with narrative lyrics and ambient soundscapes. Antlers' vocalist Silberman self-released his first recordings recorded on lo-fi equipment. After recruiting a band, the Antlers self-released the Hospice LP - a concept album about a relationship between a cancer patient and a nurse who fall in love. After overwhelming success with Hospice, the group signed to Frenchkiss Records. Frenchkiss re-released Hospice, and in 2011 they released the Burst Apart LP charting at #82 in the US and #167 in the UK.

Sometimes calling in sick and sitting in bed watching TV all day is better than any vacation. The Antlers embody the sonic equivalent to this: music for happily stewing in your room, or walking in the rain with an umbrella and your headphones. The Brooklyn band's 2011 album Burst Apart isn't going to blow up any parties; it's a sweetly intimate album that feels intensely personal despite the big, ringing guitars and sweeping atmospherics that could guest star on a U2 album in another life. In a world of brightly dressed, hedonistic electro acts and carefree surf pop, the Antlers are serious. However, that doesn't mean they're depressing or aren't any fun; there's plenty of bright moments on Burst Apart. “French Exit,” for example, is a delicate, electronic influenced track filled with keyboards that burst and flower like phosphorescence in a lake at night. However, the majority of the album deals with some pretty heavy themes. “I Don't Want Love” is a hushed anthem about the pain and confusion of relationships: “You want to climb up the stairs, I want to push you right down. But I let you inside so you can push me around.” It floats along on guitars that sound like they're in slow motion beside singer Peter Silberman's haunting falsetto vocals. Much like Icelandic band Sigur Ros, this is the type of track that sounds embryonic and all-encompassing on headphones, but would explode into a stadium sized epic if played in an arena. Other tracks on the album take cues from Radiohead's introspective soundscapes, and seem more suited to a concert for the first human outpost on another planet. “Hounds” is all gauzy textures with Silberman's hooky falsetto buried deep in the mix, blending gorgeously with keyboards and other effects. While Burst Apart isn't a sleeper album - because it's totally accessible on first listen- give it some time and you'll be well rewarded. The details emerge gorgeously: vocal hooks disentangling themselves from guitars, and the huge swells from chorus to verse on their more colossal tracks. It's a stunning work.