The Antlers
Hospice


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
March 10th, 2009 | 871 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: it's like i can't stop drinking; everytime i try i can't stop thinking

Cooped up in a depressing New York apartment for a winter, Peter Silberman found nothing better to do than write music. He created coldly atmospheric music that captured the essence of his loneliness, of the cold weather, and of being separated from and possibly forgotten by his family and friends. Thus, The Antlers, a mostly-solo project that features minimal help from some of Silberman’s friends, and Hospice, his recently released second album, was born.

Sound familiar? Sure, Justin Vernon didn’t record his indie-folk near-classic For Emma, Forever Ago in a city, but that album’s themes of loneliness and heartbreak mirror ones found here. Hospice is even being self-released (at first), just like For Emma was, although that similarity is probably the most coincidental of all these obviously coincidental similarities. Point is, For Emma eventually caught fire, due to a re-release through Indiana-based label Jagjaguwar and massive critical acclaim from every reputable music periodical under the sun, and the same could very well happen to Hospice. God knows this record deserves it; Silberman has crafted an incredible album here, one that earns and deserves all the attention it can muster.

Hospice is a sad record, especially lyrically, as Silberman mostly pens tragic tales of heartbreak and regret, often using carefully constructed metaphors without ever falling into clichés. It’s a dreamy record too, taking influences from ambient and shoegaze albums to separate itself from the usual indie-rock norm; there’s as much Tim Hecker here as there is Win Butler. Hospice is named such for a reason: the dreamy soundscapes and swells of “Thirteen” and others induce the kind of wistful images that you’d imagine when terminally ill, or terminally heartbroken.

“Kettering” introduces the listener to Silberman’s vocals for the first time, or, in other words, “Kettering” introduces the listener to the best aspect of Hospice for the first time. Silberman’s vocals warrant all sorts of comparisons-- personally, the comparison that holds the most water would be calling him a mix of Jeff Buckley and Andrew Bird-- but if he’s letting these get to his head, then he’s not letting it show. His vocals are wildly dynamic, reaching in ranges that are certainly Buckley-ish, and the minimalism of songs like "Wake" give plenty of room for Silberman to work his magic. Silberman never sounds like he's showing off, though, keeping simply using his range to add wide-reaching dynamics to Hospice. Sure, he can be a little dramatic on the climaxes of “Bear” and “Two”, but no pretense shows through; Silberman just comes across honestly, a serious sadsack with a seriously phenomenal gift.

Hospice can be lush and dreamy, but it can also rock. Hell, some songs are even optimistic and a bit grandiose, such as "Bear" and "Two", which makes up the more rollicking middle of the album. “Bear” is essentially a four-minute climax that finds Silberman singing confidently, especially near its louder, rollicking end, pounding the song’s massive melodies with soaring falsettos. “Two” is a bit more excitable, entering with flourishing acoustics before electric instruments take over; Silverman picks up the volume and dramatics as the music does the same. It’s a surprisingly upbeat song, one that dismisses dusty skeletons with a ‘fuck-it’ kind of grimace, looking forward with forced optimism. It’s the kind of special track that plays in your eternal radio station for days.

The melancholic stylings of the acoustic dirge of “Shiva” and the dark, hopeless beginning of “Sylvia” (that song picks up steam, but reluctantly, never rising above its depressing prologue; it delves back into full-depression-mode for its coda) are some of the best moments of Hospice. Silberman’s at his best when he’s feeling bad: his lyrics are a mix of self-loathing and self-forgiveness, and they aren’t so obvious that they’re instantly relatable; you have to work to get some personal sentiment out of them. That’s okay; it’s obvious Hospice is an album Silberman made for himself, one that we’re just privileged to listen to and enjoy. So sit back, listen, and consider yourself lucky, punk.



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user ratings (1273)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • thepaintedalice (5)
    "I wish I would've known in that first minute we met, the unpayable debt that I owed you."...

    Hogan CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    Please, don't wake me up....

    mike197 (5)
    Utterly wrenching, this album has to be heard to be understood....

    gypsyrick (4.5)
    Shallow waters are deeper than any surface could ever be. This is liquid music for the sad...

  • Blair Chopin (5)
    Don't let anyone tell you you deserve that...

    Banion (5)
    But something kept me standing by that hospital bed, I should have quit but instead I to...

    Alex Robertson STAFF (4)
    The hardest thing is never to repent for someone else, it's letting people in....

    Luke Rhinehart (5)
    Pretty much something you need to hear. Now....

  • Jonathan Langer (4.5)
    A tender, yet decidedly intense concept album revolving around the loss of a loved one....

    GiantBoyDetective (3.5)
    A great album surging from a more serious Bon Iver like tragedy...

    Dylan S. (5)
    Heartbreakingly sad, but also undoubtably beautiful....

    Eric (4)
    Hospice, for me at least, is the quintessential "grower." It sounds as if Silberman slaved...


Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
March 10th 2009


3742 Comments


you all need to get this right now

Shadowskos
March 10th 2009


352 Comments


listening to Kettering right now. pos'd

pixiesfanyo
March 10th 2009


1223 Comments


i heard about this. maybe i should check it out.

gaslightanthem
March 10th 2009


5209 Comments


i know i will be

charlesfishtitz
March 10th 2009


784 Comments


downloading because of cover.

did not read review

joshuatree
Emeritus
March 10th 2009


3742 Comments


awesome, featured, thanks

NortherlyNanook
March 10th 2009


1285 Comments


i have good hopes for this

charlesfishtitz
March 10th 2009


784 Comments


unbearably or annoyingly depressing

?

Youwithoutme
March 10th 2009


301 Comments


Downloading now thanks mate.

taylormemer
March 10th 2009


4917 Comments


Yeah, what's with the summary?

Tits McGee
March 11th 2009


1876 Comments


I think you were going for unbearable in the summary. Other than that part, the review was well done. I may possibly check this out.

NortherlyNanook
March 11th 2009


1285 Comments


"Unbearably" works, since it could be "unbearably or annoyingly depressing," and getting rid of that first "depressing" keeps the same meaning.

tombits
March 11th 2009


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This sounds good, will check out.

Good review!

rasputin
March 11th 2009


14544 Comments


hmm

joshuatree
Emeritus
March 11th 2009


3742 Comments


i fixed da summary

Kiran
Emeritus
March 11th 2009


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm really liking this.


charlesfishtitz
March 11th 2009


784 Comments


no, this is worse

i liked it better before

CompanionCube
March 11th 2009


977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i believe this is exactly what ive been looking for

Aficionado
March 11th 2009


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This isn't that sorrowful or melancholic musically as I expected, it's still alright.

natey
March 11th 2009


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good shiz



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