The Antlers
Hospice


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
April 6th, 2010 | 785 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The hardest thing is never to repent for someone else, it's letting people in.

As much as I hate to admit it, a little boilerplate is necessary to describe The Antlers' Hospice: yes, frontman Peter Silberman did hole himself up in a Brooklyn apartment to write the album; yes, this was a very sad period in his life; and yes, this does shine through for the duration of Hospice. The album, first self-released by the band in March 2009 and then re-released through Frenchkiss Records in August later that year, tells the story of a man losing a loved one to cancer, not only having to deal with her complaints and unstable feelings towards him, but also inflicting on himself the pain of watching her die. Though the concept of "personal-goes-universal" is often applied to "concept albums" driven by powerful storylines and themes like the ones on display here, what really makes Hospice work so well is the conviction with which Silberman displays his feelings.

This isn't to say, however, that one can simply Google the lyrics and say they experienced the album firsthand. Also important to the album's success is the fact that it sounds good: Hospice isn't exactly "well-produced", but the brooding mix of "slowcore" and folk music (often burrowed under blankets of thick guitar and rippling piano) does more than its share of carrying along Silberman's narrative.

As well, integral to enjoying Hospice is recognition of the fact that it works brilliantly as an album, not only with its overlying narrative but also with the many underlying themes and motifs (both musical and lyrical) that the band manage to fit in to the album's 50-minute length. Of all of these, the shared chord progression (which sounds slightly like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star") between abortion-depicting "Bear" and closer "Epilogue" is best. On the former, the melody is used to facilitate a childish verse and sweeping chorus. However, on the latter, Silberman strips the instrumentation down to just his acoustic guitar and sings--perhaps literally--his heart out. The effect is devastating: just as with the rest of the album, Silberman sounds about ready to start crying. By the end, you just might be prepared to cry right along with him.



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user ratings (1623)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


i realize that
1. this probably already has better reviews
2. this is a little short
3. it kind of lacks a conclusion (any suggestions? disagree?)

but i wanted to write something.

Romulus
April 6th 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I pos'd cause of the summary alone but it's a good review. I say leave it how it is with the conclusion and all.



I think someone should try and do a concept review for this but there's no way that person's gonna be me.

IRAI
April 6th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is an album less concerned with its review intensive coercion or persuasion, and more with needing to be witnessed and experienced for yourself.



review is adequate, although not extremely mandatory, but it is warranted based on how awesome this really is.



You have the albums with 438972501938517 reviews because its popular/Goddamn good (ex. TDAGARIM), you have the album with as many reviews because it is such a letdown (ex. St. Anger), and you have the one that's controversial/divided among the public (ex.'s Jane Doe / As The Roots Undo).



this is along the lines of the first type mentioned.

ziroth
April 6th 2010


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kettering was on Chuck last night. It was epic.

po0ty
April 6th 2010


530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good fucking music, but way too depressing for me to listen to very often.

Electric City
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


15760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album rules review ugh

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


damnmit

Electric City
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


15760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

come on dude you wrote an introduction then said absolutely nothing and topped it off with a ridiculous comparison that makes no sense

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


was it the twinkle little star

Electric City
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


15760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


okay maybe not in epilogue but i think of that song everytime the intro of bear comes in

i switched it from melody to 'chord progression' (altho im not exactly sure thats what i want, but it's the keyboard line at the beginning of bear)

edit: am i getting it mixed up with another children's song perhaps? hrm. it's something -in that line-

Electric City
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


15760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

either way it's totally irrelevant

SeaAnemone
April 6th 2010


21405 Comments


great album

Silberman strips the instrumentation down to just his acoustic guitar and sings--perhaps literally--his heart out.



this irks me. I don't think you mean "literally."

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


downer: i guess i still don't -really- see the problem but i'll get to removing it, for more flow if anything

either way it's totally irrelevant


irrelevant? im talking about the melody in the review, it sounds like twinkle twinkle (to me; maybe im crazy), and i mention that. wat

then said absolutely nothing


how about this part, then?

anenome: the point was more to say that 'singing his heart out' is not meant to be taken lightly here; as it actually sounds like he might be -singing his heart out-. but i'll see what i can do; it does sound a little weird lol.

Romulus
April 6th 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beginning of Bear definitely sounds like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or else I'm really confused

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15513 Comments


dont worry we can be confused together baby

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2010


17212 Comments


It's your review. If you believe it sounds like Twinkle Little Star then leave it in there.

Digging: August Burns Red - Phantom Anthem

plane
Emeritus
April 7th 2010


6732 Comments


Downer is being unnecessarily aggressive. Review is fine, it's great to finally see some prose on the piece that isn't heavy-handed or hyperbolic.

Jips
April 7th 2010


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i agree that the review flaws and the thing that bothered me was the use of "slowcore" and calling this folk... i dont agree with either... i skimmed over the parts that others gripped on so it didnt bother me...



but i actually did like the review...good job

Zizzer
April 7th 2010


915 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I've never noticed that before. The first three ascending notes are the same, but then it changes.



I also liked the review. Nicely done.



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