Alternative Press – “sparking vocal melodies and shimmering guitars en masse”
NPR’s All Songs Considered : “One of the most beautiful and moving works I’ve heard in a long, long time. Just astonishing.”
AM New York – “Hospice successfully retains its handmade feel and panoramic, gut-shuddering sound.”
Time Out New York – “truly heart-wrenching”
Tiny Mix Tapes – “Hospice is a work of rare beauty and a watershed moment in The Antlersâ€™ career.”
Teen Vogue – “brilliant lyricism and shimmering choruses.”
Sometimes you have to put yourself first, no matter how difficult that notion seems; no matter how much time and effort youâ€™ve already put into this one personâ€”the person whoâ€™s reduced your very being to its absolute core. Just ask Peter Silberman, the string-pulling founder of The Antlers, a solo project that suddenly went widescreen on the self-released Hospice LP (now receiving a proper widespread pressing through Frenchkiss). The first Antlers effort to feature two key permanent playersâ€”powerhouse drummer Michael Lerner and the layer-lathering multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicciâ€”itâ€™s an album with a sound thatâ€™s actually as ambitious as its concept.
â€œHospice came from the idea of caring for a terminal patient whoâ€™s mentally abusive to you,â€ says Silberman. â€œYou donâ€™t have the right to argue with them, either, because theyâ€™re the one whoâ€™s dying here; theyâ€™re the one thatâ€™s been dealt a wrong hand. So you take it, but you can only take so much. Eventually, you realize that this person is just destroying you.â€
Appropriately enough, Hospiceâ€™s 10 distinct chapters resonate on debilitating sonic and lyrical levels, from the hypnotic harp and tension-ratcheting build of â€œTwoâ€ to the sing-or-sink choruses of â€œBearâ€ and the speaker-rattling peaks of â€œSylvia,â€ easily one of the yearâ€™s most immediate epics. Itâ€™s here, amidst contrasting shards of ambient noise, sweeping strings and smoky horns, where The Antlers truly transcend Silbermanâ€™s singer-songwriter beginningsâ€”a striking escalation of expectations first hinted at on 2008â€™s New York Hospitals EP. The progression doesnâ€™t end there, either. In a move that could be taken as the riff-raking extension of his thorough guitar training (from the age of 6 â€˜til right before college), â€œAtrophyâ€ and â€œWakeâ€ delve into sheets of distortion, subtle shades of soul, cicada-like effects and enough movements to fill an entire EP.
â€œWe were going for something thatâ€™d be dense but not too complicated,â€ explains Silberman. â€œI hate the word â€˜lush,â€™ but I guess thatâ€™s the best way of describing it. The structures are like pop songsâ€”verse/chorus, verse/chorusâ€”but the sound is a little more shoegaze-y or post-rocky.â€
Itâ€™s about to get even more complicated, too, as The Antlersâ€™ Technicolor-tinged trio take all of Hospiceâ€™s songsâ€”and three previous releasesâ€”in a completely different direction, jettisoning a note-for-note rendition of the record for â€œa massive soundâ€ doused in delay, reverb and unrehearsed chaos. And to think Cicci was a stage actor with a desire to drop it all for music just a few years ago.
â€œHospice was the clear indication that this isnâ€™t a singer-songwriter thing at all,â€ says Silberman. â€œWhatever we record next is going to define the three of us as a â€˜band.â€™
He continues, â€œI always figured Iâ€™d be the â€˜shredderâ€™ in a groupâ€¦ But things somehow ended up this way.â€
We wouldnâ€™t have it any other way, either.