The Antlers
Hospice


5.0
classic

Review

by Kirk Bowman STAFF
February 10th, 2016 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don't forget to feel.

I've talked to a lot of people about music's effect on emotion. Apparently, many of them can listen to music and have it change their mood. I kind of doubt that this can happen quite to that degree (why wouldn't they just listen to happy music all the time?) but I do understand that some are more sensitive to the emotions that music gives off. I'd like to say that I'm a sensitive person too. But I can't change my mood with music. Maybe I'm too used to the cliches, maybe I've tried too hard and broken it. Regardless, it doesn't work for me. Most of my music discovery as a 15-year-old consisted of me scouring the web for music (or anything, for that matter) that would make me feel happy. None of it worked. My attempts just led to further unhappiness as I eventually realized I was just in denial.

As such, when people like me are in the thralls of emotion and the deepest, darkest pits of our valley-and-mountain life, we know well enough that we can't "fake it 'till we make it." So we search for something that feels real, something that won't drag us down any farther or tell us that life is good but will simply accept the tragic reality of the hell that existence feels like in the moment. Thank heaven for Hospice.

As you probably guessed by the album title, Hospice is sad. It's conceptual, loosely based on a man grieving over a dying woman in a hospital. If this is scaring you already, turn back now, because it just gets worse. "Bear," for example, confronts an abortion, a daring choice. Lest you worry about politics being thrown in your face, this song simply describes the heartbreak and social dismissal that a couple feels upon making their decision. It's incredibly touching, smart, and heartfelt. This social dismissal is explored further in "Two," one of the most frisson-filled songs I have ever heard and expect I ever will hear. The Antlers understand that you can't just run away from people - they're there, they're essential, and you have to deal with them, or else face depressing issues like those discussed in the song.

I've avoided discussing the main theme of the album so far - death. I think that's because I'm not very experienced with it and as such feel pretty inadequate to write about it. I can't fairly say that I know much of anything about death because I've never had anyone particularly close to me die. Typing this review makes me think that I'll probably look back in ten or so years, by which time I'll inevitably have had the tragedy strike my life, and wonder how I could be so presumptuous. I hope I can express even a fraction of the emotion that others have felt, but I probably won't be able to.

Death has an intense impact on people, and every effect is different. Some people become thinly veiled caricatures of their previous selves, holding it together against all odds and hurting themselves with denial. Some people completely break apart and never really heal, struggling to make it through a single day. Some people join together with others and appreciate every single person that they still have around them. Most people have some sort of combination of these, if not infinite more reactions. Hospice catches all of these intense, life-changing feelings, and slowly releases them to the listener in spurts and pieces. I can't really describe them all to you, but here's one.

Halfway into "Wake," something hits me, whenever I'm listening, and I always forget exactly how powerful it is. It's really just a slow chord-dropping build-up for another climax, but it's the most touching part of the album. Then, after finally showing you your broken heart that it's been teasing the whole album, it gushes out:

"don't ever, let anyone, tell you you deserve that"

Suddenly everything comes flooding back - remember being hurt and promising to never let anyone else feel that way? Remember being sad and promising you'd never be happy again? Remember being happy and promising you'd never be sad? Remember childhood? Remember innocence? Remember when they still had life in their eyes? All these promises, feelings, and memories come flooding back and any fragments of emotional stability are now shredded to pieces.

That's what this album really is best at, after all - breaking emotional numbness. Sometimes, we'd rather be stable in our relative peace with life, and if you feel like that I wouldn't recommend Hospice. But if you feel like you can't feel anything, it is, by far, the best piece of music I have discovered for bringing back your sense of emotion and connection with reality. While I wouldn't wish the feelings it exudes on anyone, I suspect that those feelings are a common trial of humanity. From my experience, there's no way to avoid them. So when you are hopelessly broken, listen and remember.



Recent reviews by this author
Jessy Lanza All the TimeArca KiCk i
James Ferraro Live at Primavera Sound 2012Peter CottonTale CATCH
Sophie ProductHot Tub Boys What's Your Damage
user ratings (1795)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of


Comments:Add a Comment 
granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2016


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

any critique or commentary is always appreciated

Cygnatti
February 10th 2016


33766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i feel this, nice dude :]

Digging: White Suns - Sinews

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2016


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks!

Dmax28
February 10th 2016


817 Comments


Wow what a review. It's a coincidence that your and my reviews were published back to back. I was just inspired to write a review for an album because it made me feel similar things to how this makes you feel. You went all out in that direction while in my review I just touched on it. Huge props.

I feel it's so hard to find meaningful relationships, and it's hard to communicate just by the sheer nature of everyone being stuck in their own head. I also wish I could be better at things in general. I'm an extremely slow learner and limited person but quite average in that I don't really have anything really messed up about me. So yea thank goodness for sputnikmusic and your review was therapy for me just like this album was for you!

I gotta check this album out. My God there is just so much good music out there. ARG!!! :P

DinosaurJones
February 10th 2016


10289 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. Great album. It's cathartic, in a way. Same as you, I've never had anyone close to me pass away, but this album still punches me right in the gut. The feelings of loss, shame, regret... it's just so real. I haven't really heard anything else comparable to this.

gryndstone
February 10th 2016


1732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Listening to "Wake" was the first time I ever found myself bawling my eyes out to a song. The moment you describe was the moment it stopped being a conceptual story and started being something I needed to hear. Albums goddamn therapeutic

Gyromania
February 10th 2016


30809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the choir's gonna sing and this thing's gonna kill you

benkim
February 10th 2016


4023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I still haven't been able to go through this in one sitting.

Gyromania
February 10th 2016


30809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

exceptional review. i especially like your 5th paragraph. oddly enough, at one point or another i've fit into all three of those categorizations

Essence
February 10th 2016


6417 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ay you spelled hospice wrong in the third paragraph, fyi

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2016


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks everyone, means a lot. nice catch @Essence, fixed.

Sinternet
February 10th 2016


23245 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album makes me hurt nice review

Essence
February 10th 2016


6417 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

not sure what u meant by 'frisson' in paragraph 3 or 4 either



either way, good review. at times you refer to antlers as a 'they', but this album is a complete solo work by peter silberman



genuinely surprised to see a review of this and not mention him

hogan900
February 10th 2016


3182 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Review was super touching man, can say I've felt this in the album a ton when I used to listen to it endlessly like a year ago.

Two has pretty much become one of my all time favorite songs.

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2016


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks peeps.



@essence frisson is basically the sensation of something you so much you feel shiver. another way of wording "wow that's so good it gave me goosebumps". and wow, I actually didn't realize that it was solo. normally I go into at least a little bit of research into an artist pre-writing, this time I didn't and obviously there were consequences. thanks, really appreciate the input

SomeGuyDude
February 11th 2016


376 Comments


"I've talked to a lot of people about music's effect on emotion. I know that a lot of people can listen to music and have it change their mood. I kind of doubt that this can happen quite to that degree (why wouldn't they just listen to happy music all the time?)"

There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know how to properly address it.

botb
February 11th 2016


14101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Copped this on vinyl recently, still haven't gotten the chance to listen to it but I've been slightly dreading it because I know I'm just gonna bawwwww

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2016


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@someguydude gramatically or logically?



looking at it over again, it's a pretty awkward intro. but I maintain the point I was trying to make, even if I did so poorly.

JigglyPDiddy
February 11th 2016


3721 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Record destroys...









































































...your heart that is.

Pheromone
July 11th 2020


8760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Silberman masters de metaphore



which this review and a lot of discussions on the album kind of miss. I think, lyrically, using dying from cancer as a metaphor for an abusive relationship is risky but is done so so well that it elevates the lyricism to another level.

Digging: Lagwagon - Let's Talk About Feelings



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 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy