Hospiceby The Antlers
Arriving in 2009, Hospice was the third album of graceful, often heartbreaking folk-flavored indie rock that Brooklyn songwriter Peter Silberman wielded under the Antlers moniker. The crushing, beautifully arranged concept album is delivered from the perspective of two central characters: an abusive bone cancer patient on her hospital death bed and a committed nurse who becomes attached and falls deeply in love, despite impending tragedy. Written over the course of two years by Silberman and then enhanced with additional tracks by Darby Cicci, Michael Lerner, Justin Stivers, and Sharon Van Etten, it's a woe-heavy record that could easily be crushed by its own weight, except for the fact that it's delivered with such ease. The narrative (completely written out in the liners) is gripping -- full of novelesque prose, reminiscent of Lou Reed's Berlin -- and the musical accompaniment complements Silberman's lyrics perfectly. Music box melodies are sung in a wobbly falsetto over acoustic guitar and piano, as tinges of Radiohead (Amnesiac era) electro production add accents, waiting until the perfect moment to swell up to monumental crescendos full of keyboards, accordions, harmonicas, harps, and trumpets. Arcade Fire are an overt touchstone, as are Neutral Milk Hotel and Cloud Cult, but Silberman's new composite proves itself a standout group among the many other lo-fi artists and chamber poppers, as well as a career-defining step up from the pleasant but nondescript feel of the two Antlers albums that came before this. As a songwriter, he has matured into an artist with a masterful sense of dynamics, and he ebbs and flows from one chorus to the next as he multi-tracks sparse sections into grandiose ones. In the same balancing act, Silberman tones down the album's deep personal sense of love and loss with occasional bits of dry humor. Morbid lines like "Some patients can't be saved, but that burden's not on you" are masked with uplifting music, and the morose moments are soon forgotten when the purposely less poignant line "All the while I'll know we're fucked and not getting unfucked soon" keeps the experience from becoming too much of a Hallmark tearjerker. Keep the tissue box handy, though -- the closer is a doozy. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Fred Thomas
- Release Date:
- French Kiss
Performance CreditsAntlers Primary Artist
Peter Silberman Guitar,Harmonica,Accordion,Harp,Keyboards,Vocals
Sharon Van Etten Vocals
Darby Cicci Trumpet,Bowed Banjo,Group Member
Justin Stivers Bass
Michael Lerner Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Technical CreditsPeter Silberman Composer
Zan Goodman Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is a fantastic album.
A true masterpiece. I am always listening to to this. A beautifully crafted piece of art. If you enjoy discovering a new band. This is the one. This is a must have.