Vocalist Peter Silberman spent close to two years working on this album as he analyzed his life after a big move to New York City, therein causing much anticipation to circulate around this release. Well, I guess you’ve got to respect an album that’s acquired so much time put into it, right? Hmm, maybe . . . From start to finish, the album is not bad, but you’d rightly expect more from something that had two years of work poured into it.
If you take comparisons to Radiohead’s In Rainbows as a good sign, then The Antler’s Hospice *should* be right up your alley. Well, The Antlers can’t quite fit on the same pedestal as Radiohead- in fact, they don’t really sound as if they are in the same boat. It’d be more appropriate to call Hospice a watered-down Radiohead if you’re grasping for a comparison. This world can only handle one Thom Yorke at a time, and if Silberman was attempting to measure up to him, he did a poor job. Silberman sings on this album as if he was trying not to wake his neighbors, and his weak voice compliments the repetitive quiet and bare sounds throughout this ambient work.
Although the addition of a trumpet and banjo on a couple tracks sounds intriguing and innovative, The Antlers use these tools minimally. Unless they are actual hospice patients and ready for a good nap, the empty sounds might leave listeners longing for more- maybe a tempo change (it does speed up for a bit on “Slyvia” for a quick enjoyable shoegaze experience), maybe some audible bass, maybe some variety in the overused “weird” background noises, etc. The repetitive barren sounds don’t manage to grab attention nor break any musical mold.
Of course maybe this is all considered phenomenal in the “ambient” music scene, but it’s all gone over my head.