“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” I am beginning to question those accrediting Edward Norton for this quote, as each loop of The Antlers self-released Hospice convinces me otherwise. Brooklyn based band The Antlers was born in a shroud of seclusion, a cold kitchen in Manhattan, recording at a farm that no one visits during the winter and an island no one lives on during the summer. Three EPs preceded Hospice before its unveiling early this March. Peter Silberman carefully embeds lush conditions of optimism in Hospice imposed upon by a morose atmosphere twirling blissfully with his soft voice. The Antlers have graciously offered Hospice as a live stream through their Myspace page.

Interestingly, Hospice embodies a cohesion drawn together by a theme weaved through several narratives. This becomes evident through imagery of just that, focusing care on those terminally ill. Between cold hospital sheets, harsh white lights, and a dismal sense of solitude, Peter Silberman probes the delicate parts of humanity. On the blossoming track ‘Kettering’, The Antlers approach each element with refinement, from a placid piano interlude to the restful sounds of Peter Silberman, this is what life support feels like in an empty room. Comparisons in the gentle flowing vocals create a beauty reminiscent of an orchestral rendition of Elliott Smith’s ‘Needle in the Hay’.

Balancing the isolated heartbreak of such a temperamental album is an underlying tone of hopefulness in the wistful ambience. The Antlers portray subjects of aging, loss, and death intuitively rather than sombrely, creating an aura in tracks such as ‘Atrophy’ that manage to give meaning in silence. Hospice is analogous to your grandmother’s woven quilt, a tender sadness draped over frailty with several spirited patches scattered throughout. In the end, we are all going to die; and when we do, The Antler’s will make it beautiful.

The Antlers – Kettering
The Antlers – Atrophy
The Antlers – Bear

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— , March 26, 2009    7 Comments
Comments:

great review once again jan. you’ve convinced me to bump this up on the playlist =)

— dona, March 26, 2009

Thanks again, the tracks alone don’t do Hospice justice, it flows beautifully as an album, I can’t think of a single moment my eardrums were unhappy.

— Jan, March 28, 2009

Album of the year. At least, right up there with St Vincent’s “Actor”.

Gabriel, May 17, 2009

I’ve finally listened to this. Very good, especially ‘Two,’ which for my money is song of the year.

Although for some reason I misinterpreted a hospice as being a hostel. I may be illiterate.

— Kevin, September 14, 2009

I adore Hospice, since I wrote this I still stand by the sentiment that it’s one of the best things 2009 has seen. Also, we may have an interview with Peter Silberman coming up.

Jan Kucic-Riker, September 14, 2009

The album is amazing when listened to as a whole, but if you’re looking for a taste listen to Shiva then Wake. Probably the saddest part ;~;

— nikki, November 3, 2009

This album is simply incredible. The instrumental part of it is very soothing, and when combined with the vocals is just brilliant. From what I’ve listened to, it seems as though it is about a cancer patient, but then there are part about “Sylvia, get your head out of the oven”. I did some researching, and there was a poet named Syliva who attempted suicide by putting her head in an oven. There are also lyrics in the song “Thirteen” saying, “Dig me up”. This Syliva girl also went under her mother’s house and tried attempting suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. I suppose it could be interpreted either way.

— kristen, December 1, 2011