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The Antlers release 'Familiars', their fourth studio album and first since 2011's 'Burst Apart'. (In between, they released the '[together]' and 'Undersea' EPs). Familiars' was recorded, produced and engineered by the band at their Brooklyn studio and mixed by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Future Islands, Beach House) and follows 2011's critically lauded 'Burst Apart', which The Sunday Times described as "some of the most beautiful music in years" and The Independent heralded as "a spine tingling triumph."
Top customer reviews
'Hospice' (2009) and 'Bursting Apart' (2011) were both wonderful
albums which somehow set something both fragile, essential and intensely
human vibrating in the Listening World. A delicate but powerful energy.
'Familiars' continues that journey with the ever-increasingly haunting
voice of Peter Silberman at the helm of these nine exquisite new songs.
It is a gentle, laconic affair which barely breaks a sweat from top to tail
but contains some of the most beautiful melodies I have heard this year.
The Antlers have really grown from strength to strength. If liquid gold had
a sound I can imagine that it would be very much like this. There is a fluidity
and luminescence in these compositions which both warms the heart and stirs the
spirit and has no need to rely on cheap effects or artifice to make their mark.
This is truly joyous music making of the very highest calibre.
Brass features prominantly in many of the arrangements bringing textural depth
and a deeply affecting sense of melancholy to the sound which perfectly
compliments Mr Silberman's restrained but captivating vocal performances.
Top tracks would have to include the utterly enchanting opening number 'Palace'
which sparkes with a strange kind of inner light; 'Doppelganger', a slow- moving
bluesy piece shot through with mournful trumpet decorations; 'Parade', which has
one of the album's loveliest tunes and the sublime final song 'Refuge' which, although
barely stirring the air around it, brings the project to reflective and peaceful conclusion.
'Familiars' truly is one of those albums which, in its own small way, makes the World a better place.
What distinguishes The Antlers from mainstream acts like Coldplay or other hip indie rock acts is their unique way of creating dreamscapes by means of a sparse use of electronic effects in combination with traditional songwriting.
The album "Familiars" was released in June 2014 and first of all surprises with a puristic artwork: neither the band name nor the album title is visible, the graphics of a sculpture (a couple in profound embrace) leaves the beholder to meditate upon. Familiars is clearly not a concept album, even if the title suggests otherwise. The album deals with estrangement from oneself, of growing older and how to deal with living in the present when the past continues to be present in each breath you take. The nine tracks all have a melancholic root in common, which is certainly due to the lyrics and partially also evoked by the frequent appearance of the brass - an unusual instrumentation outside of jazz and funk.
The trumpet sets a diametral counterpoint to Peter Silberman's voice, spanning from a low pitch, in which he almost whispers, to a higher range emitted in wailing and lilting tones that perfectly match the soundscape of brass, guitar, bass and synths. One reason why The Antlers are generally considered an indie rock band might be due to the percussion: it's the hard and dry way of hitting the drums which - and this is godsend - keeps the tracks away from drifting into shallowness.
"Familiars" is an album to listen over and over again without losing the sense of being intrigued by its dreamy and melancholic spheres. One point in disfavour would be the afore-mentioned trumpet: brass sections appear in all 9 songs and I would have preferred a more economical use of it and - most important - not to hear it in every song.
Best tracks: "Doppelgänger", "Hotel" and "Parade".
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