(Frenchkiss Records, May 10th)
The Antlers were always going to have to do something different with this album. Hospice was not only one of the most recent masterpieces for a long time, but for a lot of people, the saddest album they’d ever heard. To follow up a concept album about dealing with cancer and death would’ve probably destroyed Peter Silbermann in a way akin to Rivers Cuomo post-Pinkerton. So they’ve taken a significantly happier angle on Burst Apart, similar to In Rainbows after Kid A.
Just because the tone is significantly happier, doesn’t mean this is not another stunning album from The Antlers. Burst Apart is an accomplished set of tracks, brimming with falsetto and light. In fact, one of the early tracks that dropped, ‘Parenthesis’ drew early comparisons to Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Reckoner’. Whilst not unwarranted, to sell Burst Apart as just as an imitation of Radiohead is understating a very accomplished set of tracks from one of the most talented bands in the independent music scene.
Openers ‘I Don’t Want Love’ and ‘French Exit’ are gorgeous love songs, shimmering with synths and Silbermann’s resonant falsetto. ‘Parenthesis’ is, as mentioned previously, a Radiohead influenced single, sounding inbetween ‘Bloom’ and ‘Reckoner’. ‘No Windows’ echoes more of the luscious earlier Portishead, whilst ‘Rolled Together’ is a lush building track; perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. ‘Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out’ is the most straight pop number they’ve ever done, whilst ‘Hounds’ and ‘Putting The Dog To Sleep’ are vehicles for Silbermann’s vocals. This is in no way a bad thing, given the expressive nature of his voice.
This album is not as good as Hospice, but then it never was going to be. As a collection of songs, Burst Apart would always struggle to have the ebb and flow and heart-wrenching beauty of their previous release. However, had The Antlers tried to write Hospice 2.0, a lot of people would’ve been disappointed. As such, Burst Apart stands alone as another brilliant album from one of the most talented bands in music today.