The Antlers: Hospice (FrenchKiss/Border)

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The Antlers: Atrophy
The Antlers: Hospice (FrenchKiss/Border)

This may not sound like everyone's idea of an album to listen to -- it is a 10-track concept piece about caring for someone in a hospice who has been emotionally abusive. But whaddya gonna do? They are dying so you can hardly pay out on them.

Here New York's Peter Silberman crafts a song cycle of great depth and sometimes alarmingly beauty, but which equally soars and rages in the manner of Arcade Fire at their most heroic, or possesses the tension-release of  Explosions in the Sky and the like. It is up-close and almost folksy when it needs to be, but also wide-screen and sonically grand at other times.

Silberman has a voice which recalls the emotional quiver of Antony in the ballads, and this pulls you in with the revelation "you told me there was no saving you" just after the Prologue.

But with drummer Michael Lerner and multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, he delivers music and desperate vocals which can push you back against the wall (Sylvia, the distortions on Wake) but in other places (Atrophy, Epilogue) you feel dragged in to the emotional content. And sometimes he does both in the same piece (the violent mood swerves of Bear.)

No, this will not be to everyone's taste but it is an album (of conflicting and conflicted emotions) to spend time with and explore. Epic and intimate.

Silberman sounds like a major talent emerging. 

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