The Antlers - Hospice
Oli Shilling 06/12/2009
Based on brilliant reviews, I decide to give this album a try, and now I will try and write my own to do it justice. Hospice tells an emotional narrative throughout its ten tracks of a man losing someone he loves to cancer, and it certainly isn't easy listening.
The lyrics are deep, harrowing and often brutal in their storytelling. But they are perfectly matched by frontman Peter Silberman's shaky falsetto vocals, which, coupled with the albums overall content makes Hospice at times reminiscent of Arcade Fire's Funeral. I don't like pulling out standout tracks when the album is so cohesive as a complete composition, but hey, I'm going to. First single 'Bear' is beautiful and vulnerable, as Silberman's shivering vocals tell the story of an abortion, whilst 'Two' raises the tempo and builds to an epic final verse.
To echo Silberman's lyrics from 'Two' - “You had a new dream, it was more like a nightmare”, the album is musically dream-like with gentle melodies building in vast crescendos, whilst the lyrical content is so deep and morbid in comparison, as the story of this nightmarish situation unfolds.
The album works fantastically, it had me hooked by the heartstrings in the same way Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago did last year. Hospice is gentle on the ear, but heavy on the mind, balanced perfectly to create wonderful wintery listening.