Music Reviews
Burst Apart

The Antlers Burst Apart

(Frenchkiss) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

How do you make a follow-up album to your undisputed career highlight? The Antlers'2009 album Hospice was a record of dizzying highs and soul crushing lows, all artfully balanced in a sound that perfectly mixed reverb laced ambient soundscapes with anthemic indie rock. It would have been near impossible to repeat. Luckily, they haven’t even tried. Instead, they’ve adopted a more comfortable sound, settling more on the rock side of their first album.

Instead of pondering grief and loss, frontman Peter Silberman spends the record singing about the complex emotions that accompany various relationships. Excellent opener I Don’t Want Love sees a no strings attached couple struggling to stay that way, and closer Putting The Dog To Sleep is about a one sided breakup. It’s all accompanied by his expectedly excellent songwriting.

They sound more comfortable on this album, which is more of a curse than a blessing. Whereas Hospice was a highly varied album that still managed to keep a cohesive aesthetic, Burst Apart settles into its hazy indie rock quite quickly and never leaves. Hospice never got boring, but its follow-up most certainly has its dull moments. Burst Apart also fails match the emotional depth of its predecessor. There are no tracks that stand out as bad, but there aren’t many exceptional ones either. I Don’t Want Love, Putting the Dog to Sleep, and Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out are the finest moments, all smartly spaced evenly throughout the record.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good songs beyond what I listed as highlights, but nothing that’ll really stick with you. Don’t call it a mid-career slump; it’s more of a lull. Silberman's lyrics are still excellent. It’s the music and lack of emotional range that’s missing here. Burst Apart is a passable follow-up to an incredible record, but that’s all it is. Passable. 

Comments for Burst Apart review

One of 2011's greatest

Hi

I think you've been a bit harsh with this album. Not a perfect one, but nearby

Here's my review:

http://musicismyplayground.blogspot.com/2011/05/album-review-antlers-bur...

Can't find it...

I'd like to read your review to see what you have to say. I always enjoy a good conversation on a review, but the link doesn't seem to be working.

Works now...

It worked on the second try.

I agree that Silberman is an excellent songwriter, and I love his voice. As strong as the writing is, it lacks the perfect cohesion and heartbreaking weight of Hospice. That was an album that grabbed me and never let go, Burst Apart fails to repeat that.

Despite my middling feelings on Burst Apart, it has not diminished my faith in this excellent band. It proves they are incredibly capable of making good music, they just need to recapture the cohesion and magnetic pull of Hospice.

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Burst Apart

Andrew, I agree with your review, in fact I think it's probably on the generous side.

'Hospice' was an excellent record, one of my all-time favourites. But 'Burst Apart' is a shocker. It's band, it's lazy - it actually makes me angry that a band this good could make something this terrible.

Sure there are some moments - brief as they maybe - that almost get under your skin. But it all sounds so terribly comfortable.

I love The Antlers. Very much. But this time around they've made a nothing kind of album, and there's nothing worse than that. It's like the no longer trying.

By full review is at http://nigelfeatherstone.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/when-arts-fails-us-bur...

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