Antlers/Hospice


The Antlers are an indie rock band currently based in Brooklyn, New York fronted by Peter Silberman.

Initially, The Antlers was a solo project created by vocalist and guitarist Peter Silberman immediately after he had moved to Brooklyn, New York,[1] Silberman wrote the first two albums, “Uprooted” and “In the Attic of the Universe” by himself and under his own name. Afterwards, he recruited Lerner and Cicci, becoming a collaborative group. The band recorded two EPs: “Cold War” and “New York Hospitals“. Silberman’s collection of songs [2] would later become a full-length album titled “Hospice” and would feature an epic storyline, telling the story of a man losing a loved one to cancer and having to witness her death first-hand. The album was independently released by the band in March of 2009, selling an apparently overwhelming number of copies, later selling all of their stock and had to produce more. The band later commented that they “bit off more than they could chew”[1]. The album received critical praise for both its narrative and musicianship and has since been listed on several “Album of the Year” lists. The band later signed with New York-based French Kiss Records. The label released a remastered “Hospice” on August 18, 2009.[3][4] The band is currently producing a new record. [Wikipedia]

Prologue—-In keeping with the whole conceptual idea of this release, this song is atmospheric and wrought with distant sounds of sadness and despair. The hum and intermittent piano/guitar chords set the somber tone and we are off on a journey I’m not sure I will understand…none the less…I’m up for the trip.

Kettering—-This track begins almost as silently…the vocal enters with a pure and pretty delivery that reeks of sadness and touches the heart of anyone who has been in contact with someone who is very sick. The lyrics are a vivid picture of all the emotions one dealing with Death & Dying has encountered, this is almost to real to bear…this is pure and simple emotion. The song opens up wider with some nice guitar effects that manage to magically convey emotions…this is pretty intense…do not listen to this if you are in a low mood. It can be devastating!!!

Sylvia—-At the first note, you notice the increase of sonic sounds that never seem to match the vocal delivery. Delivering a somber tone, the vocal is intense and dripping with sad emotion as the writer tries to deal with all that is going on around them. The music really opens up into a nice noise fest that allows the vocalist to really convey some of the pent-up feelings by being vocal and overly auditory. This is brilliant. Although the song is at times really noisy, you never lose the underlying sadness…remarkable.

Atrophy—-Beginning rather quiet with just a minimal piano line, the song is right in line with the entire feel of the story thus far. The progression of the disease marks the progression of the story and as the ire and frustration rises so does the tempo of the music. The writer begs for attention from the dying patient and berates themselves for their fallibilities…this is pretty heavy stuff…not recommended listening if you are having a bad day!! This reamins…very beautiful and brutally real.

Bear—-With opening sounds that almost remind me of a christmas song, the vocal enters and tries to convey the failure to reach normalcy despite a terminal illness. The song speaks in a beautiful way of the battle for normalcy, the lack of understanding from friends and the desertion of the sufferer. This is really almost to intense and not meant as a light listen.

Thirteen—-Coming out of the dank darkness with layered sounds full of beauty and emotion, the song continues on in this fashion for sometime before dumping you flat on your head with the weight of the world on the back of your neck…this is heavy-duty stuff. The minimal female vocal is so haunting and beautiful, you want to wrap our arms around the singer and convince them everything is going to be ok…even though you know it is not.

Two—-With a nice jangly guitar sound…that I’m not sure really comes from a guitar, the song almost has a happy tone…only the lyrics convince you otherwise. This is ghostly and emotional…it is difficult, at times, to get through this entire release in one sitting. This is probably the most poppy song on this release and it is by no means a thing of joy.

Shiva—-Nice and atmospheric from the onset, as the story progresses, the music paints the perfect picture of the story. The death occurs on this song and the lyrics are breathtaking…as the machines stop and the shock of the inevitable sinks in. This is heartbreaking to the listener as you now have a stake in the story if you have made it this far into the story. This is predictable sad, yet somehow joyous. Sometimes….death sets us free. WOW!!!

Wake—-Full of underlying sonic sounds, the music sets the tone so wonderfully. Speaking to me as the morning after the death has occurred, the writer struggles to capture normalcy like laundry and other mundane aspects of life as you simultaneously try to deal with all that has occurred. This is haunting, ghostly and literally dripping with emotion and sadness. This is just not an every day average listen. This is pretty dark, even when it is light!

Epilogue—-Beginning with a simple guitar strumming, the vocal enters and is full of wrought and sadness. The song reminds us that the journey does not end when the death does. The vivid pictures of the funeral and the burial is intense and allows me to realize how important this process is for those who are around you. This CD…..a happenstance that I picked up by chance….has devestated me.

***** out of 5

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