I have this job to thank for many things, namely nigh on three years of free gigs, festivals, film and theatre, an Olympic pool’s worth of tears of laughter, and the close friendship of some incomparable characters. I also have it to thank for this album.
I’d never heard of The Antlers before Burst Apart arrived at BMA HQ, its jewel case adorned with a sticker proclaiming “…Bon Iver’s intimacy, Arcade Fire’s ambition, Sigur Ros’ other-worldly reach and Flaming Lips’ psych experimentalism collide” – Uncut Magazine. I knew I’d love it before hearing a note.
Opener I Don’t Want Love is devastating; a heart-wrenching wallow in lead singer and guitarist Peter Silberman’s morning after despair. “I should have built better walls / Or slept in my clothes” he laments in a piercing, soaring falsetto that occasionally sounds feminine; the hint of androgyny augmenting the album’s ethereality. Parentheses conjures a rancorous ex lovers’ argument; its distorted guitars rip back and forth while a river of echoing electronic percussion and tweaked piano surges and swirls around Silberman’s indignant howl. “So close up your knees / And I’ll close your parentheses”. He’s been through relationship hell, but who hasn’t?
Extraordinarily, despite the album’s harrowing lyrical content, its atmosphere is strangely elevating, often reaching euphoric heights. The almost beatless Corsicana is the most beautiful song I’ve heard all year, and its transition into closer Putting The Dog To Sleep is sublime. Burst Apart’s glistening synth-laden melodies, sumptuous down-tempo dreamscapes and tender intimacy combine to create a master class in how to feel good about feeling bad. A vital lesson indeed.