I got my priorties straight. I managed to finish the review for the Antlers' "Hospice", before other album from months before. Anyways enjoy this review, and wait for pics of the Grizzly Bear Brooklyn show, minus Jay-Z and Beyonce (but with Dave 1 from Chromeo!).
Hospice is a rarity among album these days, and the same goes for the Brooklyn-based group the Antlers. Instead of relying on hype thanks to MySpace, Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan, The Antlers gained buzz in a rather naturalistic way, but with a hint of the Internet helping out. The album had been making rounds around Brooklyn with it’s droning melodies, emphatic lyrics and Neutral Milk Hotel-esque anthems, and with even more pushing thanks to online message boards, with people placing the album in much regard.
It’s no surprise why this has become, in a way, a modern day In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. That watershed album by Neutral Milk Hotel from 1998 laid the groundwork for what indie would sound like for the next ten years. Now I’m not saying that Hospice is the greatest thing since sliced bread; Hospice will defiantly hold up in the future, but the sad, introspective type of indie has been losing ground lately to the like of the noise punks from Cali, and anyone associated with Animal Collective.
That being said, Hospice is a fine work from the new indie golden boys, The Antlers. A mournful work that takes on the story of man watching his loved one die of cancer, and all the drama and memories, good and bad, that happens during the process. “Sylvia”, an excellent and powerful track, may sound relatively irrelevant to the story at a first glance, but it takes the story of Sylvia Plath and her crumbling marriage and gives Hospice a symbolic back story. Throughout the album, taking us through the somber opening of “Kettering”, the aforementioned “Sylvia”, the shuffling introspection of the abortion tale of “Bear” and the hopeful, yet tragic “Two”, the album’s best song, we get the story clearly and subtlety, and it’s a beautiful experience. Not only that, the album also manages to gives us insight into the mind of Peter Silberman, the man behind the work, who isolated himself from family and friends to produce his work.
The Antlers’ Hospice will go down as one of the year’s best album because of it’s honesty and beauty. It’s an album that makes for a wonderful and moving narrative work, aside from a just good album. Like Jeff Mangum and Justin Vernon before him, Silberman takes personal isolation to make something tender and close. It’s going to be hard for Peter Silberman to follow up this work, like the reclusive Mangum, but he may take the other way and produce something as satisfying as this work.