The Antlers have always produced similar sounding albums, but have yet to perfect their sound. Familiars is the Brooklyn-based bands latest attempt, and they have come mighty close to a perfect album. The Antlers have always had bags of potential, but have never really reached it. They have always tried to perhaps make themselves too grand, something we saw in the brilliant but troublesome Burst Apart. Familiars makes leaps and bounds over all of the bands previous albums, and brings the band to an all new high.
The album starts off with the single Palace, which spearheads the bands slight change in direction. Palace is a slow, swooning, melodic adventure that takes you on an emotional roller coaster. “Beautifully oblivious before you were hid inside a stranger you grew into” bellows lead singer Peter Silberman at the beginning of a haunting ballad about love and the loss of it. Palace is just the beginning of an album that will haunt you with its deep-rooted lyrics, whilst delivering one of the most musically phenomenal albums I have heard in many years. The album continues into the epic Doppelgänger, which clocks in at over seven minutes (however not uncommon on this album). Again is the presence of Silberman’s terrifying lyrics, whilst he delivers them in a sense of swooning grandeur that will keep you too awe-struck to realize the kind of pain associated with them. However, Doppelgänger brings forward something evident on later tracks. A reliance on instrumentals. This wouldn’t have worked on past albums from The Antlers, but in this instance it is almost a gift. The array of instruments makes the instrumentals close to being as deep as the lyrics themselves, and in brilliant style.
The third track on the album almost speaks for itself. Hotel speaks of a new beginning, and it does a very similar job for the album. Although still delivering hard hitting emotional lyrics, the album sets off on a much needed path. Familiars grows as an album starting at Hotels, the prior two tracks feel almost like introductions. Silberman begins to deliver his lyrics in a more expansive manor. Whereas things were delivered in a similar vocal range, this begins to change. Following Hotels, Intruders and Director are the most vocally impressive songs I have heard this year by a country mile. Embarking on a slow pace, both songs vocals are ended with Silberman’s voice making it difficult not to sit in awe of the pure brilliance this man has. Although Revisited is similar in layout, it does not deliver the same lyrical/vocal effects as the prior songs but it is the most impressive instrumentally on the album. Parade puts the album back on track, but unfortunately it isn’t long lived as the following track isn’t nearly as impressive as the prior seven. However Refuge ends the album perfectly, it feels almost like waking up to a whole new day. Fresh, relaxed and filled with hope.
An incredible album, Familiars is a near perfect album that can certainly push the band onto big things. Familiars is available on Transgressive Recordings as of Monday June 16th.