Release Date: Nov 22, 2011
Record label: Frenchkiss Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The Antlers are definitely an album kind of band. While their songs can grab attention and provoke emotions from someone that’s only halfway listening, it doesn’t take much to suck you out of the dreary, melodramatic mindset they tend to bring up in people. It’s not like we’ve had to even consider it that much. Their two previous studio efforts — 2009’s moody and borderline depressing Hospice and a somewhat (but not much) more uplifting release this year with Burst Apart— have all been concise, focused efforts that feel like they’re establishing and holding a certain mood.
The Antler’s latest release, the (together) EP, consists mainly of alternate versions and remixes of songs from Burst Apart, along with one bonus track and a cover. Most of the interest in this EP lies in the alternative versions of album tracks, which show two sides of lead singer Peter Silberman and company: long-winded and spare. The EP begins and ends with two different alternate versions of “Parentheses:” one featuring Bear in Heaven, and the other the PVT remix.
Prior to the release of Burst Apart, the Antlers' Peter Silberman delivered a track-by-track breakdown of his band's gorgeous, subtly gripping record to Drowned in Sound-- the explanation of "Rolled Together" was particularly revelatory on three levels. First off, this is a pretty strange exercise for a lyricist as blunt as Silberman-- rarely does an Antlers song leave much to the imagination in regards to "what it's about. " Secondly, he went on to call it the result of an obsession with Boards of Canada, which also struck me as odd since it sounds almost exactly like Sigur Rós' "Svefn-G-Englar".
“Back in my day, we used to call these CD singles,” grumbles the curmudgeonly old critic. A mish-mash collection of remixes, out-takes, and jams from The Antlers, (together) contains only two songs that weren’t on this year’s exceptional Burst Apart in some form or another. The EP’s central hook is the collaborations it contains, but disappointingly, they’re collaborations only in a technical sense.
The most distinguishing quality of the Antlers has consistently been frontman Peter Silberman’s falsetto. Like the vocal performances of Antony, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (Silberman’s most obvious influence), his singing breaks, aches and reverberates consistently and steers where the rest of the Antlers should go next. One of the biggest failures of the (together) EP, a collection of alternate versions and outtakes from this year’s minamalist and heady Burst Apart, is that his heartstring-pulling voice gets frequently pulled from the menu during some lengthy instrumental breaks.