Far from easing listeners in to their musical sphere, The Antlers broke through in 2009 with ‘Hospice’; the story of an abusive relationship “told through the analogy of a Hospice worker and terminally-ill patient”. So will ‘Burst Apart’ follow an increasingly insular and darker path?
In truth, all fears of inaccessibility are addressed from the outset. ‘I Don’t Want Love’ is widescreen, emotive rock and based on a simple but addictive riff. Likewise, ‘French Exit’ employs euphoric synths. ‘Parentheses’ is as haunting as the trio get; Pete Silberman’s falsetto howling over some menacing drum loops. After that brilliant opening, the only fear is whether the group can maintain the momentum.
Sadly, they don’t quite manage that. ‘No Widows’ and ‘Rolled Together’ offer plenty of layered, ambient rock but as songs they provide only light melancholia and little in the way of impact. It’s not until the eighth track – the lilting ‘Hounds’ – where The Antlers’ subtle apprach pays dividends. Similarly, ‘Corsicana’ masters dreamy Americana and ‘Putting The Dog To Sleep’ is delivered with a tenderness that is only hinted at in the title.
‘Burst Apart’ is undoubtedly an emotional album which is realised beautifully both at the beginning and at the end. It’s just a pity the record is let down by a fairly inconsequential middle section.
The Helio Sequence, My Morning Jacket