The Antlers Burst Apart(Frenchkiss) Buy it from Insound
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.5 May, 2011 - 19:31 — Andrew Baer