This was my second time seeing the Antlers, but for some odd reason it felt like the first. I am always amazed by people who enjoy going to shows of artists that they have no knowledge of. I go to a lot of shows, but I usually make sure I know some of the artists’ work before I make the commitment to go to a gig. Regardless, this time was real. I was familiar with their material.
I fell in love with the Antlers after diving head first into their album ‘Burst Apart.’ ‘Burst Apart’ is the band’s fourth full-length album but only the second on my radar. The only other album I have given a listen to is ‘Hospice’ – a narrative album of an emotionally abusive relationship between a hospice worker and a terminally-ill patient. The two albums are incredibly different but boast a lush, sometimes atmospheric album.
The band hails from Brooklyn as so many incredible independent rock acts do. They are signed to the New York-based label ‘Frenchkiss Records’ home of other successful acts such as the Dodos, Passion Pit and the Drums all bands that haven’t won my heart over just yet. While the band only has three permanent members, they tour as four with Timothy Mislock on bass and guitar. I was amazed to see how prominent keyboardist, Darby Cicci’s role was in the band between filling in sounds with keyboard and synth as well as some clutch vocal parts.
My first impression after getting to know ‘Burst Apart’ inside out was how they would be able to capture their ambient sound live. Much to my surprise, they were able to revision their tunes live quite well. Slower tunes such as “Kettering” were played slower than the studio versions which made the show lag a bit. It was really amazing to hear “Rolled Together” live, as I had been pining over this song for the last six months. A tune that sounds far too similar to Sigur Rós‘ “Svefn-G-Englar,” as pointed out by Pitchfork writer Ian Cohen, and I couldn’t agree more.
The band played for just over an hour and a half, but played a good range of their last two full-lengths and their brand spanking new EP titled ‘Undersea.’ They even opened up the set with the leading track of ‘Undersea’ titled “Drift Drive”—a more music less words type-tune more ambient tune. I was amazed that they could pull the tune off so eloquently as a show opener, the crowd seemed quite engaged.
The standout moment of the gig was their closing song “Putting the Dog to Sleep” – a slow burn, classic soul sounding tune that finished the slow as well as it does on the album. My friend and I had their last tune down to “I Don’t Want Love” or “Putting the Dog to Sleep” – both tunes serve as the bookends the album ‘Burst Apart.’ I was surprised that “I Don’t Want Love” wasn’t played as it is easily is their most accessible tune.
It was an efficient show that I was in and out of under two hours.