“Burst Apart” Stays Together

The Antlers don’t do photo shoots. People just take pictures of them.

Keegan Swenson, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Antlers, after releasing their career defining “Hospice,” follow it up with the neurotic “Burst Apart.” The record is filled with quiet, unassuming, and modest songs, a sharp contrast to the booming, attention-grabbing sound of the debut.

Opener “I Don’t Want Love” brings the listener into the atmospheric world of “Burst Apart.” After the first high pitched keyboard note, a soft guitar strum plummets into front man Peter Silberman’s tale of straying away from any human connection. However, the lyrics show a new found maturity in songwriting for Silberman; he is no longer moping about his emotional baggage, but instead, coming to terms with it.

In several spots––the subtle synthesizer in the aforementioned “I Don’t Want Love,” the mandolin in “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out,” and even the organ in “No Widows”––the album shows The Antlers exploring new and exciting musical terrain. This, at times, becomes over-complicated and works against their signature sound, but in other spots, it makes the songs soar.

The falsetto of front man Silberman remains, like previous efforts, the heart of the record. Silberman is blessed with a painfully beautiful voice and uses it to carry many songs along. On “Rolled Together,” the record’s centerpiece, he repeats only two lines; he successfully evokes stronger emotion, more than any other song here.

The record isn’t without faults, however. “Tiptoe” relies on a simple melody that never progresses, leaving the entire song rather dull and pointless. “Corsicana,” an obvious nod to “Amnesiac”-era Radiohead, is too similar to the Antler’s earlier work and comes off sounding uninspired.

“Parenthesis,” the standout here, showcases the darker sound being embraced on this record. Silberman sounds more like an opera singer than an indie rocker, and Michael Lerner’s drumming has never sounded so organic. Throw in the grungy guitar hook, and “Parenthesis” shows how much The Antlers have progressed as a band, playing off each other like they’ve been together for decades.

The record’s closer, “Putting The Dog To Sleep,” isn’t quite the climactic end they were obviously going for. However, that’s not to say the song doesn’t have it’s own charms. The guitars sound ever-optimistic in the backdrop as Silberman mulls over what he sees as the biggest detriment to a break up: he might die alone. But ultimately, Silberman slips in a quick happy ending: “You’re not gonna die alone, But trust me to take you home and to clean up that blood all over your paws.” In the end, he’s as hopelessly romantic as the rest of us.