The Antlers – Burst Apart (2011 LP)

Brooklyn based trio The Antlers wrent the world in two with their heartbreaking LP Hospice. The ambient noise and beautiful arrangements that were punctuated by the devastating narrative that ran throughout the record resulted in one of the most intense and haunting releases of 2009 that somehow managed to be both melancholic and emotionally draining while emitting a vibe of comfort and hope for a better tomorrow.

Their follow up Burst Apart is one of the more hotly anticipated releases of 2011 as devout fans of the band were left with baited breath wondering exactly where The Antlers would go with their sound in the wake of their glorious concept record. Fortunately for old and new fans alike Burst Apart is another stunning musical triumph that manages to maintain the powerful emotional atmosphere that was prevalent in Hospice, while displaying a more textured sound that shows the depth, breadth and maturity of the band’s song writing abilities.

The Antlers have refined their hazy soundscapes with a collection of ten songs that take the listener on a journey through soaring highs and sorrowful open spaces that are striking, endearing and ultimately uplifting in spite of the lingering sadness. Opener “I Don’t Want Love” is wistfully pretty with its slow burning beat that culminates in whirl of synth, guitar and Pete Silberman’s ethereal, passionate cries that send chills down the spine.

Sullenness creeps in on “Corsicana”, that offers a particularly poignant moment with the gorgeous piano melody as the tragic tale hidden in the lyrics unfolds. “Putting The Dog To Sleep” sees the band in power ballad mode as Silberman gets metaphorical, recanting the difficulties of personal relationships ‘my trust in you is a dog with a broken leg, tendons too torn to beg for you to let me back in’.

The remainder of the album is surprisingly upbeat, with tone of the music disguising the harsh truths told in the lyrics. The gentle percussion of “French Exit” is quickly contradicted by Silberman’s biting remarks ‘every time we speak, you are spitting in my mouth’. The grinding electronics and distorted guitars of “Parenthesis” see the band spiralling down in darkness, with Silberman‘s falsetto taking an aggressive turn. “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” is a grand highlight of danceable goodness and lush layers of guitar, synth and mandolin, but whether Silberman is singing of destructive love, hedonistic mayhem, or relationships at all is rather open to interpretation.

The heart wrenching lyricism and obtuse sentiments are present in abundance, as The Antlers offer no easy answers, instead forcing the listener to question the feeling while questioning themselves and the world at large. Burst Apart is exigent listening with it’s lyrical complexity, and challenging sonic structures, that will remain with you long after the record has ended.

Review Score: 9/10

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