The Antlers - Burst Apart (Transgressive)

Another moving poetic record from New York's finest indie band.

Released May 30th, 2011 via Transgressive / By Jack Sibley
The Antlers - Burst Apart (Transgressive) Two years on from the phenomenal Hospice and The Antlers are back with another serving of hot-off-the-press helplessness and despair. Having forged their sound largely from singer Peter Silberman falsetto and almost feminine cries, it is with fearful anticipation that we steel ourselves for a silent sob on the first listening of their new album Burst Apart.

And sure enough it all comes rushing back. Opening with ‘I Don’t Want Love’, Silberman states his case from the first line – ‘You want to climb up the stairs, I want to push you back down’. From there, he continues to provide a string of candid summaries of his inner wars between his often contradictory emotions for the chosen subject. The lyrics on this album are a significant change though. Whilst still tackling similar themes, Silberman seems to capture the ideas in fewer words and is often found outlining and suggesting rather than confessing or offloading. This could be due to regrets concerning the explicit nature of the previous album, with which Silberman thinks people focussed too much on the specifics.

In terms of musical style this album shows a clear progression from Hospice, not least due to production values being upped by Frenchkiss records and any problems with levels having been ironed out (thank God the vocals are now fully audible). The group seem to have taken more inspiration from their contemporaries and, with elements like the triplet beats heard towards the end of ‘No Widows’ and the emptiness of ‘Putting the Dog to Sleep’ complimented with offbeat echo-laden stabs, there’s almost an element of the artsy end of dubstep in here. Arching over the whole thing is Peter Silberman’s classic vocal style. His soaring sound that slowly slides down through blue and chromatic notes like drips of paint down a white wall is just as beautiful as ever.

Overall this album doesn’t really hang together as obviously as Hospice did but makes up for it with a consistency of themes and an impressively updated sound. With Burst Apart, Silberman proves that he still has the capacity to move the average listener to tears with his minimalist but heart-rending poetry.