The Antlers
Undersea


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
July 23rd, 2012 | 229 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Take the plunge...

It’s an idea that has been dwelling in my mind for a while now, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: The Antlers are the newest atmospheric masterminds of our generation. They still have a long way to go legacy-wise, but they have a serious chance to enter the Radiohead arena of ambient alt-rock, and that’s saying quite a bit. Right now, you could even argue that nobody does it better by citing Hospice’s unmatched-in-today’s-music profundity or Burst Apart’s liberating flow. All that promise packed into such a young career is why an album – even though it is only an EP – has the potential to really bolster The Antler’s status as a prominent band within their genre. Undersea not only upholds the excellence that we have come to expect from Silberman and company, but it also makes enormous strides ambitiously and conceptually. If there’s one thing The Antlers have been over the past few years, it is fluid – and this EP follows suit with a completely natural evolution in sound that fuses the best traits of their first few works to form something decidedly hushed but irrefutably epic.

Much like the full-length releases that preceded it, Undersea is a work that prides itself on setting a tone. Some of the band’s earliest endeavors anchored their meaning to sullen topics such as cancer. 2011’s Burst Apart truly was a departure; its dazzling guitars and effervescent keyboards opening up the hazy clouds of yore and giving way to an illuminated night sky. Just as we thought that The Antlers might be ready to venture into happier territories, Undersea takes a defiant plunge right back into the murky depths of Hospice – although not without taking a few of Burst Apart’s qualities with it. This year’s EP, while something of a fusion between all past Antlers’ styles, is also a progression. The lazed falsetto and meandering tempos still guide every song through a dream-like state, but we are also introduced to jazz influences and electronic undertones that enable the band to boast continual growth. ‘Drift Dive’ is the best example of The Antlers’ electronic infusion, drenching their traditional sound in echoes, offset beats, and reverb – although it is hardly drowning in a digital sea. The jazzy vibe can also be felt immediately, although its presence can’t be fully appreciated until the bluesy horns that construct a rather elegant canvas for ‘Crest’. The eight and a half minute ‘Endless Ladder’ is quite possibly one of the most soothing tracks you will listen to all year, enveloping your senses just as the ocean waters would swallow a grain of sand into its sprawling, shimmering fields of blue. ‘Zelda’ illustrates Peter Silberman at the top of his game (is he ever anywhere else?) along with an encore of everything encountered during the EP, from regal sounding horns to gradually descending electronic effects that create a sinking sensation. By the time Undersea has concluded, it is quite possible that you will have to knock the water out of your ears.

Extended plays never seem to get the respect that full-length albums do, but this outing is a rare exception. The Antlers are clicking on all cylinders at this point in their career, and right now I’d be hard pressed to imagine anything that they can’t do. There is no atmosphere they are incapable of concocting, no high note Silberman can’t reach, and no emotion that can’t be eloquently conveyed. The idea of taking an album and giving it a theme is nothing new to The Antlers, but Undersea just might be their most aggressive creative pursuit yet. On an ambitious journey that would render most bands helpless, they have effortlessly prevailed.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


16947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is released tomorrow, but is streaming on Facebook (you just have to "like" the page first):

https://www.facebook.com/TheAntlers?v=app_178091127385

As if the Antlers would be anything less than perfect.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Gyromania
July 23rd 2012


16089 Comments


Damn, a 4.5. Well, we both gave Burst Apart 5, so I'm officially excited as all hell to hear this.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm assuming this is better than their last ep

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I havent been able to put this down. It is an amazing EP. Good review, SowingSeason.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


16947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never heard their other EP Klap, but I presume that it is.

Thanks Paperback.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

came out end of last year, this seems much more coherent

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


16947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still going to listen to the other one, as well as the rest of their back discography. After Burst Apart I've really fallen in love with these guys.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this is so awesome

god damn I love this band

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

HitlerIsTheBest
July 23rd 2012


1575 Comments


id have to disagree with this: "Undersea takes a defiant plunge right back into the murky depths of Hospice" this album is pretty fucking sunny and euphoric to me.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hard to take you seriously

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2012


16947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You actually make a somewhat valid point but I'm too busy not caring about your username

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 23rd 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, so this is what you used your staff powers to hype instead of Lacey, Jamie. Well played, I'll look into this.

HitlerIsTheBest
July 23rd 2012


1575 Comments


@aids hey, your name is aids, PEOPLE DIE OF AIDS AND THATS OFFENSIVE.

@sowing if you were too busy not caring you wouldnt have mentioned my name, you would have replied like normal. so what you meant to say is that i make a valid point but youre too busy caring about my username.

WeepingBanana
July 23rd 2012


10217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

2nd half>1st half

Endless Ladder was just kinda boring i dunno

Romulus
July 23rd 2012


8447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is like, exactly what i wanted them to make after burst apart

Drsmith4
July 23rd 2012


1719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Re-listening to Burst Apart in preparation for this, and it sounds a hella lot better than I remember!

chambered49
July 23rd 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

this
is
so
good

Graveyard
July 23rd 2012


5817 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

idk for me personally there is not much going on with this, aside from adding a few jazz elements n shit

Drsmith4
July 24th 2012


1719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The fluid-like guitar melody in Drift Dive reminds me of a vocal melody from somewhere...reminds as in my gut tells me it's legit lifted straight out of a song...

chambered49
July 24th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i think this is much better and more realized than BA



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