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Antlers, The - Burst Apart Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.75
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 88%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.31
Musicianship 8.81
Lyrics 8.81
Production 9.13
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 8.56
Reviewer Tilt 9.06
Average: 89%

Antlers, The - Burst Apart

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (05/11/11)
The AntlersBurst Apart
Record Label: Frenchkiss
Release Date: May 10, 2011

I’m shamelessly one of Greg Graffin’s 21st-Century digital boys. With the speed of knowledge propagation, it’s hard not to be an information junkie, constantly craving the latest scoop on music, sports, technology, politics and pop culture. I sometimes imagine the AP.net readership as a legion of zombie-eyed Kurt Cobains transfixed by the glow of PC monitors absently chanting, “here we are now, entertain us.” Yet the sea of stuff bombarding our synapses seems to have, at least for me, a nerve-deadening effect. But at those times when I think I’m no longer capable of having feelings more profound than ambivalence, something like Hospice comes along to strike down those thoughts like a lightning bolt out of the darkness. The Antlers’ 2009 breakthrough has the rare power to play with listeners’ emotions like some sort of kid’s toy. Unlike My Chem’s use of the vague concept of death as an excuse to don creepy makeup, Peter Silberman’s account feels heartbreaking and crushingly real. It’s the type of record that’s so powerful, I suspect even those without proper context—that is, having had the misfortune of seeing a loved one breathe their last—can still appreciate the anguish. Hospice makes for a stark embodiment of the hopelessness and despair that well up inside as we see the end approach, as it inevitably must. Whether it’s spoken or tacitly understood, such moments are also a nagging reminder of our own mortality and its surrounding fears, fears the non-manic depressives among us largely suppress save for tossing out now-meaningless cliches like “live each day like it’s your last,” taking the “even though it isn’t” part for granted. Like us, Silberman can only allow his morbid fixation to last so long.

The Antlers’ new release Burst Apart marks a move away from the stifling bleakness; I doubt Silberman is even capable of delivering songs that don’t sound fragile and fraught with emotion, but there’s less in the way of pure desolation on this new set. It often seems like the case of the man behind Hospice, having experienced the joys of love and the agony of loss, moving past the grief, but at the same time erecting walls as a preventative measure against future heartache. The title of “I Don’t Want Love” says it all, and he closes “French Exit” with, “don’t try to fix my heart.” A sense of loneliness and emptiness pervades most of the album’s ten tracks, but you get the impression that, for Silberman, there’s some solace that through this emotional detachment, he can avoid the soul-sucking torment he’s been through before.

Like it’s predecessor, Burst Apart is simply an incredible sounding album. There’s a breathtaking elegance to The Antlers’ sound that recalls Talk Talk’s uncanny ability to be simultaneously intimate and intense and to say seemingly so much with so little. Like Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, Silberman has some otherworldly range, and his vocals often serve as another instrument in the beautiful sonic whirlpool (see especially the head-shakingly gorgeous “No Widows” and “Hounds”). The end product is exceedingly easy to get lost in, but unlike Hospice, it doesn’t hold us rapt with feelings of unease and dread but is instead rather comforting. Hospice is a record we can praise for its hauntingly ethereal sound and harrowing depiction of brutal reality, but it’s not something we can revisit without a sense of discomfort. Burst Apart retains all the band’s compositional prowess and aural splendor, but it’s also a record we can truly celebrate. Granted, it’s definitely not sugar-coated optimism, but more an apology for doing what you have to do to get by. And with that sense of moving on comes at least a faint ray of hope for the life we have left.

RIYLMew’s No More Stories; Sigur Ros’ Takk; Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock

Track Listing1. I Don’t Want Love (3:19)
2. French Exit (4:03)
3. Parentheses (3:26)
4. No Widows (5:17)
5. Rolled Together (4:37)
6. Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out (3:23)
7. Tiptoe (2:21)
8. Hounds (5:17)
9. Corsicana (3:39)
10. Putting the Dog to Sleep (5:47)

Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28.
09:42 AM on 05/11/11
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red8ge's Avatar
Didn't figure I'd see an Antlers review on AP.net.

Great review, great album.
09:49 AM on 05/11/11
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
that first paragaph, just... no words. brilliant interpretation of this band. brilliant.

09:55 AM on 05/11/11
every shining time you arrive
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topher465's Avatar
Wow. Great review. Much better than what I've been recently over the last year on here. I listened to this record today, and I agree with you about what moving past what he dealt with before in Hospice. I find this record, however, to be hauntingly depressing and beautiful. He doesn't hint at the emotion or tip-toe around it like some artists tend to do, but instead he plunges your head into the cold bucket full of ice, and the effect is that as your inside, without breath and surrounded by cold and the muffled silence of the water, you realize its not all that bad.
10:11 AM on 05/11/11
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youngmountain's Avatar
Hospice is one of my favourite albums of all time, but I was slightly underwhelmed by this on first listen; I think I need to play it a lot more before I can really pass judgement though.
Good review.
10:23 AM on 05/11/11
Steve Henderson
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Steve Henderson's Avatar
I am in love with this album and your review did it justice. Excellent writing, Jeremy.
10:40 AM on 05/11/11
Welcome to the Blue Hell
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brenByah's Avatar
This is a big AOTY contender for me, I absolutely love it (as shown by my avatar and user title). Great review!
10:51 AM on 05/11/11
Ari Christos
blowin on that endo
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Ari Christos's Avatar
Jeremy might have just fucked around and became the greatest. Great review - perfectly describes how I feel about the record. Probably my favorite album of the year so far.
11:25 AM on 05/11/11
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NarcolepsySmile's Avatar
This record is hit or miss for me. Still good though.
11:33 AM on 05/11/11
Jeremy Aaron
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Jeremy Aaron's Avatar
I am in love with this album and your review did it justice. Excellent writing, Jeremy.
I miss me some Steve Henderson. Hope you're doing well, man.
11:53 AM on 05/11/11
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JimmyAveningo's Avatar
I love this record and band. I really enjoy your review except I think there is too much on Hospice. Great record but there is almost as much time dedicated to that and not the new ish
12:08 PM on 05/11/11
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bandnamexmyname's Avatar
"Putting the Dog to Sleep" is fantastic.
01:03 PM on 05/11/11
Dirk Nowitzki's Beard
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Clark's Avatar
Holy crap. I think this may be the best review this site has ever posted. Well done.
01:11 PM on 05/11/11
Jeremy Aaron
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Jeremy Aaron's Avatar
It seems like even this blind squirrel finds nuts on May 11th
03:17 PM on 05/11/11
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gr33ndayfr3ak's Avatar
Absolutely fantastic review of what is easily my AOTY so far.
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