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The Albums of 2009: Hospice by The Antlers

October 26, 2009

Hospice by The Antlers

After a long day of work, you slowly step into your perfectly still and silent home. You quietly spin an album that you’ve heard much about: that it is something you give your full attention to, something that isn’t just heard, but experienced. Beginning with a frail falsetto, “Kettering,” the second track off The Antlers’ 2009 album, Hospice, sets the tone for what is about to be an amazingly beautiful and haunting journey. “You made me sleep and uneven, and I didn’t believe them, when they told me that there was no saving you,” cries Peter Silberman as a lush array of instruments engulfs him in a one minute release of cathartic noise. As the sound dies down you realize that this is not going to be your normal concept album.

Hospice was crafted by lead singer Silberman during a year of “social isolation.” A social isolation that caused him to search deep within to capture what it is that makes humans feel for one another. If Hospice could be summed up in one word, that word is “desperation.” Desperation to save Sylvia, the little girl who lies on the hospital bed during many of the songs on this album. Desperation to save what’s left of a relationship that’s being torn apart by human mortality. The Antlers have captured all the facets of this emotion perfectly, and they do it with an elegance and force like the arrival and departure of a massive tidal wave. There are times where the album goes from all out anguish to a quiet, more contemplative yearning for peace.

Every song twirls you through a myriad of emotions that leave you desperate for a happy conclusion. But that’s not where Hospice takes you. The album ends as a tragedy. One that lands you in disbelief much like death does to you in life. You are destined to play the album over and over like you would your memories, in hopes of a different ending. With each listen, the album cuts deeper and deeper, never letting you go.

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