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Hospice

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Album Review

Arriving in 2009, Hospice was the third album of graceful, often heartbreaking folk-flavored indie rock that Brooklyn songwriter Peter Silberman wielded under the Antlers moniker. The crushing, beautifully arranged concept album is delivered from the perspective of two central characters: an abusive bone cancer patient on her hospital death bed and a committed nurse who becomes attached and falls deeply in love, despite impending tragedy. Written over the course of two years by Silberman and then enhanced with additional tracks by Darby Cicci, Michael Lerner, Justin Stivers, and Sharon Van Etten, it's a woe-heavy record that could easily be crushed by its own weight, except for the fact that it's delivered with such ease. The narrative (completely written out in the liners) is gripping — full of novelesque prose, reminiscent of Lou Reed's Berlin — and the musical accompaniment complements Silberman's lyrics perfectly. Music box melodies are sung in a wobbly falsetto over acoustic guitar and piano, as tinges of Radiohead (Amnesiac era) electro production add accents, waiting until the perfect moment to swell up to monumental crescendos full of keyboards, accordions, harmonicas, harps, and trumpets. Arcade Fire are an overt touchstone, as are Neutral Milk Hotel and Cloud Cult, but Silberman's new composite proves itself a standout group among the many other lo-fi artists and chamber poppers, as well as a career-defining step up from the pleasant but nondescript feel of the two Antlers albums that came before this. As a songwriter, he has matured into an artist with a masterful sense of dynamics, and he ebbs and flows from one chorus to the next as he multi-tracks sparse sections into grandiose ones. In the same balancing act, Silberman tones down the album's deep personal sense of love and loss with occasional bits of dry humor. Morbid lines like "Some patients can't be saved, but that burden's not on you" are masked with uplifting music, and the morose moments are soon forgotten when the purposely less poignant line "All the while I'll know we're f****d and not getting unfucked soon" keeps the experience from becoming too much of a Hallmark tearjerker. Keep the tissue box handy, though — the closer is a doozy. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Fred Thomas, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Dude, it's freakin' brilliant.

Simply put, it's a unbelieveable album here by Peter Silberman. There's track after track of hauntingly beautiful songs complete with heart-rending lyrics that will chill you to the bone. He's seamlessly blended the power of Arcade Fire with the intimacy of Bon Iver, so if this sounds like your thing don't wait another second later, you won't regret it.

Album of the Year?

This seemingly out of nowhere LP brought to you by Peter S. is by far one of the most exceptional LP's of the year, and could possibly the best. Telling intimate haunting tales that pull at your heart just a little bit more, song after song, and seemlesly integrating the styles of Bon Iver or Miracle Fortress with the mind of a modern day and approachable Tom Waits, this is one of the few recent releases that deserves the praise it's getting.

Absolutely Hearbreaking

Once I heard this was a concept album, I went back through, gave it a hard listen with lyrics all the way through, beginning to end. All I can say is wow. This album is absolutely stunning. The lyrics are so incredibly powerful and heartbreaking, and the story of these two people is extremely profound and will no doubt deeply affect you. An incredible album from start to finish, give it a listen, I guarantee you wont finish with dry eyes.

Biography

Formed: 2006 in New York, NY [Brooklyn]

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Evolving from Peter Silberman's bedroom recordings to a fully realized band, for Brooklyn-based the Antlers, what started out as a solo lo-fi folk project progressed quickly into a colossal-sounding chamber pop group. After self-recording a handful of albums in a kamikaze fashion -- Uprooted (recorded just before and after moving in 2007), The February Tape (recorded in a bathtub in an hour), In the Attic of the Universe (a single ambient song stretched into an album), and Cold War (an album with...
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Hospice, The Antlers
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