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Putting the ghost of Hospice to sleep,
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This review is from: Burst Apart (Audio CD)
At the risk of sounding repetitive, let me put this disclaimer in first - this record is no _Hospice_. It could never be - and it doesn't want to be. If anything it wants to distance itself from the aura of that stunning record. _Hospice_ was a one-off. A towering record of such emotional depth that very few modern bands (if any) can come close to achieving without sounding self-indulgent or over-wrought. With my own experience of being in an abusive relationship in the past (brought upon by a serious illness but thankfully not resulting in death) that record was a punch in the gut. It had me in knots. There were nights that I would listen to the record on repeat and not sleep a wink. Even now, I can't listen to songs like `Two' and `Wake' without shedding a tear or two. But I think in the end it made it easier for me to cope with my situation. Therefore you would understand my attachment to that record. But if there's one thing we must all do, is that we must move on. We have to move on.
_Burst Apart_ is the record of the band moving on (or trying to at the very least). The band sounds relaxed and willing to experiment. It may underwhelm you at first listen, but persistence pays off. There are no `wall of sound' songs like `Sylvia' (save maybe for parts of `Parenthesis' or `Every night my teeth...') on this record and I suspect that is what had me underwhelmed during initial listens. But then I made a conscious effort to listen to this record on it's own merit, as if it were the work of a new band. And that's when it started coming together. This is an experimental pop gem (I hate the label Indie). The songs may sound laid back and sparse but this is plenty of depth to the compositions. This sounds like a full band effort. The opener `I don't want love' really sets the mood for the set - downbeat lyrics and major key music. A couple of songs sound dangerously close to Radiohead (the aforementioned `Parenthesis' & `Everynight my teeth') but still retain the Antlers identity. `Rolled Together' is a shining example of how to make a song with a repetitive melody without getting boring - reminds me somewhat of Air and other chill-wave bands (and don't take it the wrong way ;). `No Widows' sounds like the one song that could have been on _Hospice_ without feeling out of place whereas the wonderfully gentle `Hounds' sounds like the work of a different band entirely.
The closer, `Putting the dog to sleep' is my personal favourite. With its wonderfully uncertain lyrics about love, life and the future, it personifies (for me at least) the theme of this album. We all want to move on, but will that lead us to a better place? Or will it lead us back to the traps that we had found ourselves in the first place. Maybe their next record will answer that question.
PS: Seeing them live in November in Manchester. Can't wait to hear live renditions of these songs and hopefully some off _Hospice_ too!