Some albums are better as a whole. The Antlers' new release Hospice is one of them. It's a cinematic dreamscape wherein each song links to the next, creating a musical stream of consciousness. It twists and turns and when it's over, you feel as though you've read a novel. It's best digested in a single sitting, preferably with headphones, a beanbag chair and something to stimulate your thoughts (e.g. caffeine). It's on the level of Arcade Fire's "Funeral," taking you to that melancholic place, but only to make the triumphant return that much more dramatic. "We wanted to go to that dark place but come out of it," explains Antlers frontman Peter Silberman. "The album has an arc and somehow it lifts itself back up again by the end."
Sound: Lush and ambient, but always building to a crescendo that will get you so worked up you'll be fighting back the urge to turn over the table in the coffee shop and run outside.
Stage Presence: It starts slow. A man singing songs that accelerate at the speed of a blooming flower. Seeing them live is like jogging down a steep incline until your legs are tangled and you lose control, only at the bottom you plummet into warm water instead of pavement.
Listen to The Antlers…
…while suiting up to surf just as the rain passes or the fog burns off.
…while walking away after the first time you kiss her. Or the last.
…while drinking an espresso at 4 p.m. on a day with disheveled cloud cover.
…over fast-food takeout on your first night in an empty apartment.
…while reading For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway on February 15.
…while you drive home in the dark from something exhausting.
Listen to The Antlers on MYSPACE.