Take the traditional Bildungsroman, swap the protagonist for a man in his early thirties and set it to music -- you'll immediately see what the Antlers' sixth album, Green to Gold, is all about.
Following a seven-year hiatus after 2014's Familiars, Peter Silberman and Michael Lerner return with a master class in quiet contemplation and coming-of-age for the modern millennial. Musically pared back and stripped of any vestige of electronic influences from the days of Burst Apart, the starkly minimal Green to Gold draws close the intimacy of Silberman's hushed tones.
For a time during the second half of the last decade, there was a real possibility that The Antlers' outstanding 2014 third album, Familiars, would also be their last. Shortly after Familiars' release, Peter Silberman, the lead singer and heartbeat of this quietly brilliant band, began to experience serious auditory problems affecting his left ear, a condition that left him struggling to cope with commonplace, everyday noises. Forced to abandon the frantic environs of his native Brooklyn, and therefore his bandmates, Silberman retreated to the quieter surroundings of upstate New York, close to where he spent his childhood.
time keeps on slipping
The film released to accompany The Antlers' latest offering is, depending on how you approach it, one of two things. Either a powerful, haunting study of one couple's relationship interpreted through dance and fractured time, or a boring 50 minutes of people dancing in a sun-dappled house and some fields. As with all art, I'm increasingly convinced, what you get out of it has as much to do with what you're willing to bring, to give over to it, than the objective contents of the art itself.
A decade ago, the Antlers were a deadly fucking serious band working at an unsustainable emotional pitch. Their preferred metaphors for doomed relationships included, but were not limited to, a terminal cancer patient, a dead dog, and a fire that claimed the lives of three children. By their fifth album, 2014's Familiars, Antlers occupied a fascinating space between slinky jazz and smoked-out space-rock.
Unsurprisingly, Green to Gold is a remarkably zen affair. The press release mentions that the album was "written almost entirely in the morning hours", and indeed, Green to Gold feels flooded with a warm, morning glow. The songs are unhurried affairs, taking their time to unravel.