The Antlers
Familiars


5.0
classic

Review

by MagmaWalrus USER (10 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2014 | 6 replies | 333 views


Release Date: 06/17/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Antlers demonstrate just how much they've grown as a band.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

The Antlers are a band you can trust. If the atmosphere of any of their diverse albums draws you in, you can count on them to refine and expand it, and if you let yourself, you can get totally lost in them. The way they combine atmosphere with such beautiful song structures makes listening to them a more involved experience than most other bands, as if the atmospheres they create are a canvas on which their melodies and instrumentation are painted, and it takes time and attention to fully absorb both. Familiars takes this approach further than they’ve ever gone before, resulting in a gorgeous blend of craftsmanship and sheer musical ability, even if it might take a while for it to reveal itself.

This is because The Antlers clearly trust themselves, and as a result, they’ve made their most confident album to date. It’s impressive that it conveys confidence so strongly when the music itself is so slow-building and soothing. Despite the average track length being 6 minutes, Familiars never comes across as lazy or dragged out, but rather as meticulous and patient. Take “Revisited” for example. It’s built upon one simple repeating chord structure and lasts for nearly 8 minutes, but the obvious attention to detail and carefully timed evolutions in the song’s structure make it captivating. The horns that initially just add texture build until they blend perfectly with the keyboard’s melody, the guitar creeps its way from the background to the foreground and Peter Silberman’s vocals transition from quiet and restrained to extremely emotive and powerful. “Doppelganger” is another example, with the guitar gradually becoming more forceful as the song goes on. It all sounds remarkably well put-together; they know exactly when a song needs to evolve, and they always do so with enough subtlety to reward those who are willing to listen carefully.

Just like the individual songs do, Familiars evolves as a whole, both thematically and musically. The first half is more downbeat and reflective. Songs like ‘Hotel’ and ‘Intruders’ revolve around deep introspection and the pain that comes from looking into the past, and the music beautifully reflects these lyrical themes. ‘Hotel’ immediately creates a haunting, ominous atmosphere, and serves as the perfect backdrop for lines like “I rent a blank room to stop living in my past self.” Likewise, ‘Intruders’, with Silberman’s seamless transitions in and out of falsetto and its delicate melody makes lyrics like “when my double scales the wall I’ll know exactly where he’s landing and I’ll surprise him” more poignant than they already are. This cohesion between the music and the lyrics makes the album feel complete, and hearing the band execute their ideas so well on all levels makes for an extremely satisfying listen.

It’s on the second half however that Familiars really demonstrates The Antlers evolution as a band. Halfway through the triumphant ‘Parade’ Silberman asks “haven’t we suffered enough?” and the entire dynamic of the album changes. The atmosphere becomes less foreboding and sad, and more uplifting and hopeful. Lyrically, it still reflects heavily on the past, but with a new perspective; he finally seems able to fully accept and move on from it. On the closer ‘Refuge’ he sings “it’s not our house that we remember, but a feeling outside it,” and it sounds like a true revelation. This shift in tone happens quite suddenly but doesn’t come across as rushed because it’s clear that they’ve been building up to it throughout the whole album, and to a lesser extent, their whole career. It’s far from the heartbreaking tale of Hospice or the eerie loneliness of In The Attic of the Universe, but it’s just as gripping, undeniably emotional and beautiful. The Antlers have now proven they’re capable of nailing it with whatever type of album they want to make, and it’s clear that they’re not content with just repeating themselves. The amount of growth they’ve shown as a band in just 8 years is impressive, and with such huge yet subtle leaps forward between albums, they have one hell of a bright future ahead of them.



Recent reviews by this author
The Mountain Goats Transcendental YouthDivine Fits A Thing Called Divine Fits
The Mountain Goats PhilyraThe Tallest Man on Earth There's No Leaving Now
Right Away, Great Captain! The Church of the Good ThiefFrightened Rabbit The Midnight Organ Fight
user ratings (175)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Ryan Fitz (5)
When love is a safer place we both remember....

SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Like a weightless, hate-less animal - beautifully oblivious...


Comments:Add a Comment 
hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2014



1501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review man, completely agree with you on the second half of the album as well.

JokineAugustus
July 3rd 2014



5718 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Awesome to see more 5 reviews. The average should be at least 4.2

Digging: Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2014



853 Comments


Very nicely written. I don't know how much I like this, certainly seems like repeated listening is a must.

RadicalEd
July 3rd 2014



2555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys are such a great, it's to bad that i can't listen to hospice more often, because the sadness is unbearable. But this is just hopeful enough for me.

Digging: Depth Connection - Fever Dreams

kevin234
July 3rd 2014



238 Comments


been hearing a lot of positive things about this album. I've never heard of this band. Might have to check 'em out

Artuma
July 3rd 2014



10802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

check hospice first

Digging: Mihai Edrisch - L?un Sans L?Autre



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy