The soft, crooning melodies present in the Antlers’ sophomore work Burst Apart may at first evoke lullabies and ballads, but Brooklyn-based band has produced an album that is far from tranquil. Both ethereal and haunting, Burst Apart is distinct and just as enjoyable as their debut concept album Hospice.
Deceptively subdued, the tracks present within Burst Apart are filled with seemingly major-keyed melodies. Underscored with eerie harmonies, they evoke a feeling of intentional uneasiness that persists in the entirety of the songs. “I Don’t Want Love” is mellow and sweet, yet the synthesizer quietly upsets the easiness of the melody. Towards the end of the track, the song is suddenly left bare with only Peter Silberman’s voice, the steady drum beat and the quiet synthesizer — now quite noticeable — that disrupts and gives the song a sudden, peculiar mood.
Lead singer Silberman’s smoothly controlled voice substantiates the the haunting quality of the album, utilizing his vocals to belt out ethereal and desperate ethereal and desperate falsettos. Silberman’s voice is often used as a part of the harmony, as it is in “Tiptoe;” his whispering and wordless vocals quietly harmonizes with the oboe as it plays a clear, flowing melody.
The use of Silberman as a supplement to the depth and layers of the tracks allows them to experiment with different instruments, and even different methods, to create multifaceted songs. In “Rolled Together,” for instance, the focus is not placed upon the melody. Instead, the buildup of the song, with gradual harmonic additions, takes center stage and brings attention to the individual instrumental and structural aspects of the song.
Not all of the tracks are successful — “Hounds” is static in song structure and not greatly memorable in the light of more intricate tracks — but the album overall is eerie, frantic and delightfully complex. Successful in creating an album both familiar to its debut work and yet quite different in execution, the Antlers have established themselves as not only a band with promise, but also one that is uncannily creative.
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