The Antlers know how to piece together music that sinks into your skin, with previous albums Hospice and last year’s Burst Apart, this group hits an emotional point with each of these releases. Their new EP, Undersea, is a very experience that is stays exactly where it needs to and doesn’t go on for too long.
While their previous EP, Together, was a very disjointed effort that didn’t have solid grounding, Undersea has a clear structure and sound that floats through all four songs. “Drift Dive” opens the EP with some light saxophone and even some harp going softly in the back. Peter Silberman’s voice is just as far back and still oddly effective as it was on Burst Apart, but the rest of the instruments provide enough distance to make the listener feel like they’re in some far off place.
“Endless Ladder” starts with some piano and disjointed guitars that slowly build into a very solemn beat. Of course, the element that really makes this song fantastic is Silberman’s voice, and it might be the best moment on the EP.
“Crest” has some odd electronic beats that get things started and then adds in some warm bass lines and saxophone that sounds close to “Tiptoe”. The song builds up some electronic flourishes and gets close to a Radiohead tune.
“Zelda” gets started with more sax and some really prominent bass. Silberman’s lyrics are great and the silky guitar that comes in overlaps the saxophone perfectly.
Undersea is a great example of what EP’s should be. An experience that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and goes where it needs it and then leaves. The Antlers continue to grow with this release by restraining themselves to four song and not overblowing this release.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10.
The Antlers put out one of the best albums of the year earlier with Burst Apart. Now the group has put out a confusing EP, (together). Usually, EP’s are releases put in between a group’s proper albums to give their fans something to hold them off until the next album. I’m not quite sure what The Antlers are doing with this release.
Burst Apart was released back in May, and it still sounds great. I can still put on that album and continue to be entertained and moved by it. It’s too soon to be releasing an EP of songs. But here’s the really sad part about these bunch of songs: most of them are just decent re-recordings of material off Burst Apart. Why?
(together) starts off with a remix “Parentheses” and it’s just kind of boring and really pointless. “Tongue Tied” cones and goes smoothly, but it doesn’t leave any sort of impression. “French Exit” is one of the few interesting re-workings here. There’s just enough added stuff to make it an good listen, although it still comes nowhere close to the version on Burst Apart.
Then there’s a cover of The XX’s “VCR” that does nothing. And then we get a handful of collaborations. The first one is “Hounds” with Nicole Atkins, and it goes really well and Atkin’s voice sounds great (as it always does), but what’s the point? The other collaborations have the same feel. “Rolled Together” with Neon Indian only sounds like Neon Indian is there at the beginning of the track, and then it just sounds almost exactly like the version on Burst Apart. And the song drags on for almost nine minutes.
Nothing goes on longer than the final song, “Parentheses” (yeah, again). I guess Bear In Heaven is somewhere on this track, can’t tell. Like hearing the song at the beginning isn’t enough, it also goes on for over eighteen minutes. That’s about fourteen minutes too long.
Too long is a problem for this entire “EP”. How can you even call this an EP when it goes for an hour? Sure, I love The Antlers. But did I need an hour long set of material that just makes me want to their other record? No.
Rating: 4.9 out of 10.
Following their fantastic Burst Apart LP from earlier this year, The Antlers have announced a new EP of material called (together). The set will feature eight songs, including remixes, tracks with Nicole Atkins, Bear In Heaven and Neon Indian. As well as a cover of The xx track, “VCR”. (together) will be released on November 22nd via Frenchkiss Records.
01. Parentheses (PVT remix)
02. Tongue Tied
03. French Exit (SNRF version)
04. I Don’t Want Love (Peter’s version)
05. VCR (The xx cover)
06. Hounds (with Nicole Atkins)
07. Rolled Together (with Neon Indian)
08. Parentheses (with Bear In Heaven)
“Parentheses” with Bear In Heaven:
The track “Wake” is the next to last song on their 2009 album, Hospice. The track is the climax of the album, and proves to be the emotional high point of an album filled with more emotions then most artists care to show during their entire career.
“Wake” starts with some eerie vocals and a piano and when Peter Silberman sings the first lines “With the doors closed/shades drawn/the world sinks” the listener is automatically transported not just into the setting of the album, but the feelings of the two characters. Something I’m still having trouble putting to words.
I know it seems odd, or stupid, to put up a post about a song that I can’t seem to analyze but I’m really at a loss to put together proper thoughts on this track, or the entire album. The only thing I’m really able to put down are the lyrics themselves.
It was easier to lock the doors and kill the phones than to show my skin, because the hardest thing is never to repent for someone else, it’s letting people in.
The idea of shutting off your emotions to keep yourself and others safe also shows up on The Antlers track “I Don’t Want Love”, but it’s best conveyed here.
The apex of emotions shows up towards the end of “Wake”, with the piano coming back in and synths slowly droning on top followed by a slight saxophone in the back. Then it really takes off with a marching drum beat and the strings kicking in while Silberman sings his heart out.
Some patients can’t be saved, but that burden’s not on you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you deserve that.
An amazing performance of The Antlers with Nicole Atkins has shown up. “Hounds” is a remarkable track from Burst Apart and Nicole Atkins, singing the lower vocals, is a great fit.
The new music video for The Antlers “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” is a great video that keeps the mood the track intact while adding some odd images to the mix. From the slow rotation of the camera, to dominoes, gasses of milk and smashing teeth with a hammer, this just works.
On a less interesting note: Lady Gaga has just put out a video for “Edge of Glory”. While she’s been known for putting out some of the best music videos in recent memory, “Edge of Glory” is underwhelming. Much like the rest of Born This Way, the video is a homage to eighties pop, even Clarence Clemons is in the music video.
MY MORNING JACKET- CIRCUITAL
This is my first listen to My Morning Jacket and it was a very enjoyable listen. I had track reviewed the title track when it showed up and very impressed. My hopes for the rest of Circuital to end up as great as that song were let down. The album starts off great for the first few songs and the songs get a little weaker as the album goes on.
Jim James has a great voice and it fits in very well with most songs and the uplifting lyrics are quite impressive as well. There’s some very nice guitar work that sounds like it’s straight out of the seventies. The thing that really impressed me with this album was the way the songs seemed to go into each other and created a solid listening experience despite some of the weakness of the second half.
Rating: 7.1 out of 10.
THE ANTLERS- BURST APART
How do you follow up an album as excruciatingly painful as Hospice? Where do you go from there? Create an album with just as much pain, only with lots of really great melodies. I had issues with Burst Apart at first, primarily with the typical sounds and that none of lyrics really added up to much at first listen.
Upon spinning the album a few more times, I reached the conclusion that what The Antlers have created with Burst Apart is a collection songs that deal with breaking up with somebody and how we deal with it. Ouch.
It’s not the kind of album that you get the first time through, it’s going to take some time. The Radiohead-esqe “Everynight My Teeth Are Falling Out” might be the best track here, and the opener “I Don’t Want Love” talks about shutting yourself off from other people. All of the amazing lyrics on Burst Apart are made even better by Peter Silberman, a man with such a great vocal range that I’m reminded of Jeff Buckley.
Rating: 8.7 out of 10.