Ones To Watch 2010: The Antlers

A dream borne of a nightmare

Starting back in 2006 as the solo project of Peter Silberman – the guise under which 2007’s debut ‘In The Attic Of The Universe’ was released – The Antlers subsequently became a three-piece with the addition of percussionist Michael Lerner and multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci and earlier this year self-released the DIY masterpiece ‘Hospice’. Picked up by Frenchkiss, the album was remastered and re-released. Pundits and public alike were duly blown away by the album’s musical and emotional force and soon word-of-mouth whisper became a hurricane of gleeful hyperbole.

“I’m kind of not believing it,” says Silberman, of the acclaim afforded to his band. “I still think of it as this little album that nobody’s heard of. Life has been so insane since we put it out, so busy and unbelievable that it feels like a dream.”

A dream borne of a nightmare. The album’s concept – a poignant detailing of the thoughts and feelings of a man watching his loved one consumed by cancer – was spun out of a traumatic experience that Silberman found himself caught in. Reluctant to detail specifics, Peter suggests that a flat reading of the lyrics is not only misleading, but perhaps missing the point.

“My aim wasn’t to tell my story, it was to tell a story that people could relate to on their own. I wanted to try and understand selflessness. A hospice is a good example of that. It has the situation where someone is dying and you’re taking care of them and, in a way, they’re completely entitled to be as awful to you as they want. Relationships can be that way too. People feel entitled to lash out, especially if they’ve been dealt a bad hand in their life. With this record, I wanted to find out how I came to be in one of those situations.”

This exploration is soundtracked by beautifully fragile melodies. Electronic chatter, soft murmurings and fuzzy shoegaze muddy the path towards sumptuous choruses and cathartic guitar blowouts. Those fond of drawing comparisons tend to pitch The Antlers somewhere between the angelic striving of Jeff Buckley and the sad-eyed sermons of Arcade Fire. Work is already underway on a new album; one that Silberman hopes will cement their place amongst such exalted company.

“I think it’ll be conceptual, but in a different way [to ‘Hospice’]. I’m gonna try to do more with less, using fewer lyrics. On the road, we’ve mostly been listening to electronic music. That’ll definitely change things… I’m not sure. It’s hard to predict what will happen. Right now, we’re embracing everything, we’ve been presented with a really bizarre opportunity and we’ve just got to make the most of it.”

Words by Francis Jones

Where: Brooklyn, New York
What: Indie-rock, shoegaze
Unique Fact: Breakthrough album ‘Hospice’ was recorded on one microphone in Peter Silberman’s bedroom.
Get 3 songs: ‘Bear’, ‘Two’, ‘Wake’

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