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Antlers, The - Hospice Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 9
Production 7.5
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 84%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9.5
Production 8.92
Creativity 9.25
Lasting Value 9.33
Reviewer Tilt 9.33
Average: 92%

Antlers, The - Hospice

Reviewed by: alltimecam (07/20/09)
The Antlers- Hospice
Record Label: Self-Released (Now signed to Frenchkiss)
Release Date: March 3, 2009 (Being remastered and rereleased August 18th through Frenchkiss)

The search for the AOTY has been claimed to be over, by many, since January 4th when Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion album came out. It was over again in mid-March (yes, double-over) when Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest hit the internet. Nothing has churned my stomach though in 2009 like the Antlers' 3rd full-length album, Hospice. Hospice is built on raw emotion, sweat, and especially tears.

The album runs like a movie; opening with "Prologue," a giant space of a song with some atmospheric sounds preparing you for the journey you are about to take. As the bulk of the record begins, Peter Silberman’s hauntingly beautiful voice appears as guitars quiver behind him. We see him standing by a hospital bed, providing a preface for the rest of the album and the life of this man we watch throughout Hospice. The guitars build until they eventually fade away and we are left only with Silberman’s gasps for air. The next song, "Sylvia," opens in a panic with Silberman’s once calm voice now frantically trying to keep pace with the beat, “Sylvia, get your head out of the oven. Go back to screaming and cursing, remind me again how everyone betrayed you.” A brass section creates a beautiful climax to the song. As the horns bellow, it feels incredibly right, creating an early climactic moment for an album with many. The album is a story, and we are forced to dive right into this tragedy. We see further into the psyche of our tormented protagonist in “Atrophy,” a criminally beautiful tune that matches the somber lyrics that carry the song. Reminiscent of Bon Iver is the double-tracked vocals on this song, as two voices sing to me, “I'm bound to your bedside, your eulogy singer.”

The next song, "Bear," opens to the sound of a mobile-like sound that was played to you as a child, setting the theme of the next passage in the story. We see the beginning of the woman’s depression. The song is obviously about abortion, detailed by lines like, “There's a bear inside your stomach. The cub's been kicking you for weeks.” However, the song dives deeper into the process of maturity in the chorus straining that “We're too old. We're not old, old at all. Just too old.” This is the crumbling of the relationship, the driving percussion sets the stage for this album-highlight and we hear Silberman calmly state that now they are bigger strangers than they have ever been before when they return from the clinic. We are pulled back into the present by a bubbling electronic interlude followed by the echoing voice of a woman asking, “Can't you stop this all from happening?” The effect is chilling, to say the least.

This leads us to the happiest tune of the album, and if you are not listening closely to Silberman’s falsetto, you would miss the distressing lyrics. Silberman whispers, ashamed of the fact, “He brought me out into the hall (I could have sworn it was haunted), and told me something that I didn't know that I wanted to hear: That there was nothing that I could do to save you, the choir's gonna sing, and this thing is gonna kill you.” His voice shakes throughout the rest of the song as you hear the guitar strings tremble under the weight of his fingers. The lyrics that follow are painful, as we see the slow death and past of the poor dying lover in the story. “Wake” is the song that follows the wake, a lyrically driven song, powered by the beauty of his voice that takes flight halfway through this epic 8-minute journey, as a far-off piano clamors for your attention, only to lose it to a resurgence of drumming and Silberman quietly yelling “Don't ever let anyone tell you, you deserve that.” The song flows organically with each new sound being introduced standing true to the effect of Silberman’s voice, and as the percussion fades, the ending hits us. “Epilogue,” is almost a happy ending. Silberman finally seems to be released as he breaks down at the end of the song screaming, for the first time, the resolution he has found.

The story that The Antlers are able to create is beautiful and melancholy, and I could write about it forever, but it could never do this wonderful, organic, and honest album justice. So find the time to sit down and listen for 50 minutes to Hospice. Just make sure no one is around to hear you weeping.

Recommended If You LikeAntony and the Johnsons, Bon Iver, Nick Drake (slightly)


http://www.myspace.com/theantlers
http://www.antlersmusic.com/store.html
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 19.
06:56 PM on 08/02/09
#2
Cal50
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this album is better than 99.9% of the shit that gets mentioned on this website, so thank you for reviewing it and everybody please check out one of the best albums of 2009
07:05 PM on 08/02/09
#3
chasingsafety
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great review.
Silberman conceived and wrote Hospice over the course of two years in his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment, as a way to cope with the illness and death of someone who was close to him, but abusive.
"Hospice is essentially about myself and another person," Silberman says. "About our relationship and its dissolution. I had other people in mind, friends who have been in similar situations, or who have recently found themselves in dysfunctional environments."

-Via NPR
07:09 PM on 08/02/09
#4
Cuddleworthy
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really good album
08:01 PM on 08/02/09
#5
alltimecam
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whoops 84% is a little low, I didn't realize the cumulative score when I inputted individual ratings.

I think I will do Japandroids next if it hasn't been done yet
08:04 PM on 08/02/09
#6
alltimecam
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great review.
Silberman conceived and wrote Hospice over the course of two years in his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment, as a way to cope with the illness and death of someone who was close to him, but abusive.
"Hospice is essentially about myself and another person," Silberman says. "About our relationship and its dissolution. I had other people in mind, friends who have been in similar situations, or who have recently found themselves in dysfunctional environments."

-Via NPR
Interesting. I thought I had read in the liner notes (which I seemed to have misplaced) that they were based on the crumbling of a relationship and he used the death as a metaphor
09:30 PM on 08/02/09
#7
noles848
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whoops 84% is a little low, I didn't realize the cumulative score when I inputted individual ratings.

I think I will do Japandroids next if it hasn't been done yet
i like this album alot, cant wait to see what you think about japandroids
12:08 AM on 08/03/09
#8
brenByah
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Gonna give this a shot solely because I like the album art.
12:36 AM on 08/03/09
#9
alltimecam
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Gonna give this a shot solely because I like the album art.
Good idea, start with "Bear," and "Two."
11:00 AM on 08/04/09
alltimecam
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11:33 AM on 08/04/09
brenByah
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That's surprisingly high for Pitchfork. They usually rip things apart, they're very critical.
11:44 AM on 08/04/09
alltimecam
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That's surprisingly high for Pitchfork. They usually rip things apart, they're very critical.
It's a great album, the review seemed like a bunch of hot air to me though.
02:15 PM on 08/04/09
brenByah
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It's a great album, the review seemed like a bunch of hot air to me though.
Ha ha, well pitchfork's a lot of hot air. They come of as elitists pretty easily, but occasionally have some good stuff. I do like what I've heard from this record so far.
02:18 PM on 08/04/09
Cuddleworthy
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this album was bound to be loved by p4k, anyone who follows them could see it coming
02:59 PM on 08/04/09
alltimecam
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Ha ha, well pitchfork's a lot of hot air. They come of as elitists pretty easily, but occasionally have some good stuff. I do like what I've heard from this record so far.
Usually I thoroughly enjoy their reviews, at least it got a good score this deserves the pitchfork hype
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