The Antlers
Green to Gold


3.8
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
March 28th, 2021 | 98 replies


Release Date: 03/26/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: time keeps on slipping

The film released to accompany The Antlers' latest offering is, depending on how you approach it, one of two things. Either a powerful, haunting study of one couple's relationship interpreted through dance and fractured time, or a boring 50 minutes of people dancing in a sun-dappled house and some fields. As with all art, I'm increasingly convinced, what you get out of it has as much to do with what you're willing to bring, to give over to it, than the objective contents of the art itself. Which is, handily, an apt thesis statement for Green to Gold.

"I wanted to make a record that felt kind of reliable", Peter Silberman told American Songwriter, noting his increasing distance from albums with one or two Big Tracks that stand out from the rest. Indeed, Green to Gold has no towering "Wake"-style showstoppers; even the seven-minute title track is an exercise in mantra-like repetition that resolutely refuses to build. While Familiars, the galaxy-brain take for The Antlers' magnum opus, delighted into twisting its bluesy structures into unsettling passages that demanded a spot on the Twin Peaks Return soundtrack, Green to Gold is the logical continuation of where that album ended, finding grace in "Surrender" and "Refuge". The latest album by indie rock's stalwarts of subtle evolution and refinement will not disappoint those of us who always delighted in their hidden textures and atmospheres as much as barn-burning screamalongs; it is a resolutely peaceful affair, totally unconcerned with forcing drama or histrionics onto its gorgeous landscapes.

Of course, real-life circumstances had more than a small hand in encouraging this musical evolution. Silberman's hearing issues, which all but ensured he could only listen to and play the kind of intensely quiet music found on solo record Impermanence, combined with the departure of multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, means that Green to Gold was born out of relaxed weekend jam sessions between Silberman and drummer Michael Lerner in the same home studio where Hospice and In the Attic of the Universe were made. It sounds bigger and cleaner than those early records, but the same sense of one man staring up at the night sky in wonder (and sometimes terror) has some echoes here - although now it's one man staring out at nature from a porch bathed in sunlight, watching time slip away in that liminal Sunday space where linearity seems to disappear.

"The week went slow, the year flew by", Silberman sings in the arresting "Solstice", and it's about as good a mission statement as any for an album where snapshots of life seem to be trapped in amber and shuffled around out of order. The unbelievably pretty "Just One Sec" sees the narrator begging a partner to "free me from your limiting ideas of me", and offering the same release "from my interpretation of history". If you were so inclined, you could interpret the song as Peter Silberman talking to his audience, asking to be freed from the weight of expectation of the past and offering the same clemency going into the future. Or, y'know, not - there's plenty of imperfect, impermanent beauty in Green to Gold without me reading into things that aren't there. Not to say the album is totally free of the darkness The Antlers have always fought: "It Is What It Is" seems to grapple with the fallout of the Trump administration's handling of COVID (or lack thereof) with precise and cutting language, while "Volunteer" frames a bittersweet kiss-off to a previous life with a shoegazey build that wouldn't be out of place on Undersea. The most significant change here is that Silberman is excavating the darkest parts of his songwriting to the surface, letting them wilt in the sunlight instead of simmering underneath.

Perhaps the most telling quote from Silberman discusses the idea of "this album being a few journeys around the sun and ending up back where you began, but later in time". There's a good reason "Green to Gold" is the album's title track and centrepiece; embodying the entire cycle of seasons in seven minutes and change, it's a piece of music that genuinely feels timeless, a classic future generations will study when every season is just one long winter because humans broke the planet. Good thing that Peter Silberman, whose acuity and brevity with words has always been an even stronger asset than his gorgeous voice, can more or less summarise the entirety of human life with a stanza like this:

Morning's bright, the ancient ice withdraws
I take one step and the ground begins to thaw
Tiny grasses spring up 'round my shoe
Eager bits of green start peeking through


Where Silberman and co. one traced all the tiny moments in a relationship that catch at your heart with devastating detail, that cynical darkness and thin metaphor has been replaced by a dreamy heat-haze ramble along a timeline out of order. One of Green to Gold's final lines is an entreaty to "flip on the porchlight if you sense I'm lost / and we'll find a way back together", all at once bringing to a close the album's Sunday fantasy while looping back to linked imagery at the conclusion of Familiars. It would be an incredible conclusion to a sublime discography, but thankfully it feels like The Antlers are just beginning, even fifteen years on.



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user ratings (76)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Sunnyvale CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Here we come to a turning of the season...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2021


44937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

refer to: https://americansongwriter.com/peter-silberman-talks-about-the-antlers-new-golden-age/



bet

Digging: Brockhampton - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2021


34736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

big if

Digging: Xiu Xiu - OH NO

NorthernSkylark
March 28th 2021


10949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Barn-burning screamalongs



I get along without you very well



Of course, I do



Except perhaps in spring



But I should never think of spring



For that would surely break my heart in two

Digging: Ruby Haunt - Tiebreaker

NorthernSkylark
March 28th 2021


10949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also great review. Loved impermanence. Feel like this is just half a step behind that one.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2021


7097 Comments


Lovely write up

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2021


2789 Comments


wonderful review, i think 'one' in the final para should be 'once'
not sure if i'll check this, only heard hospice (love that record though) so this may not be the most logical next step lol

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 28th 2021


37098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is a really good write up, I'm glad you tied in his struggles with tinnitus because it nearly ended the Antlers as we know them and it really informs the direction they took here.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks Of God

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2021


13536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

beautiful review row



do not like the film do like the album

Digging: Julia Kwamya - Feel Good About Feeling Bad

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 28th 2021


37098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need to see this film everyone keeps talking about

NorthernSkylark
March 28th 2021


10949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gotta avoid it at all cost but don’t gotta avoid this

StarlessCore
March 28th 2021


7722 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

he really went for consistency on this album?



he failed

Digging: Ptaki - Przelot

Pikazilla
March 28th 2021


15478 Comments


this is about as bland as familiars tbh

Colton
March 28th 2021


8996 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really miss when Silberman would actually use his voice to its full effect, idk if it’s the tinnitus or what but he never does that here

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


44937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

cheers boys



good album ye

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13938 Comments


Sowing still dropping 4.5's and I feel like I can't play along.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


2167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review Rowan, did this album justice!

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


3627 Comments


Beautiful work as always Rowan.

dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


1549 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is almost exactly how I feel about this album - Like nothing all that special, but done well and makes me feel all sunny and good and makes me miss my childhood house in the middle of the woods and farmland

Digging: Valerie June - The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Slex
March 29th 2021


10984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The fact that there is a new Antlers album is a miracle in general tbh

Digging: Kali Masi - Laughs

Pikazilla
March 29th 2021


15478 Comments


should've stopped after hospice tbh



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