New York indie-rock trio the Antlers certainly set a high bar with its much-buzzed-about 2009 release, "Hospice", about the relationship between a hospice worker and a patient. While that album was rife with gut-wrenching lyrics and instrumentation, the group has taken a different tack with its latest, "Burst Apart".
It certainly wouldn't have taken much for the new album to be a cheerier listen than "Hospice". But more than that, the Antlers have taken a page from My Bloody Valentine's book, turning Peter Silberman's chilling falsetto into an instrument and letting his lyrics fade into the background. The song "No Windows" creates a trancelike atmosphere as Silberman's vocals float with a ghostlike tone, while his repetitious and nearly incomprehensible murmur builds in intensity on "Rolled Together".
There are plenty of songs on "Burst Apart" with distinguishable lyrics, many that are as emo as ever ("Prove to me I'm not going to die alone," Silberman croons on "Putting the Dog to Sleep"). Still, after the powerful "Hospice", it's the less-straightforward tracks that are the most intriguing here, as Silberman shows that his voice is as versatile as any instrument in the band.
-- Catherine P. Lewis