While taking a risk at such a lofty statement, Antlers is the reason to keep listening to independent music. Not that the band are the saviors of sound, but the ideas around what the band is doing are what makes this scene so worthwhile. Take a group of people, all from accomplished bands, and put them together to form a mostly instrumental collective. It’s how music like this continues to be innovative and moved forward, ceasing to regress at all.
Antlers is the latest of a slew of amazing bands to come out of Richmond, Virginia. Featuring members of Mass Movement of the Moth, Gregor Samsa, Resonance, and Olive Tree, the band began playing shows in the middle of 2007, and this is their self-titled debut. Their live act has been hailed as amazing, from the sing-a-longs that occur in their hometown to their acclaimed set at The Fest in Florida this year. Their debut is just as praise worthy, as Antlers is an eight-song album that flows together seamlessly, combining talented musicianship with catchy and appropriate choruses and melodies.
Antlers could very well be a one-song album, which is not necessarily an impossible feat as it clocks in at barely over twenty minutes long. The length of the album is not an important factor in the equation, however, as every song begins where the last one left off, transitioning so smoothly it can be hard to tell where one track ends and the next starts.
Two tracks into Antlers, Christian’s - from the now defunct Mass Movement of the Moth - guitar work is apparent, as the loopy, spooky sounds are mixed with bright and jangly and the sound of broken glass mixing with twinkling bells. The tempo remains upbeat into the next song, with an orchestra of horns suddenly being introduced into the fray. Four songs into the album we are introduced to the bands group vocals, as everyone sings with a few simple guitar notes taking over during the small moments of silence. The band, in full unison, sings, “This is how we’ve always been, and I can’t believe that you’ve always been alive.” The chorus is then broken up by the same guitar notes being joined by a droning bass and amble drum beats.
The music Antlers makes is joyous and uplifting, even in times of distortion and darkness, there is always a sense of a celebratory atmosphere to their song structures. Six songs into Antlers the beautiful voice of Erin Tobey is introduced to the album, as drum tapping gives way to her singing, “Time turns to water,” as the rest of the band intermixes their own short lines, before all join together and singing, “This is no only, you are no only.” Antlers ends with their most enthusiastic and promising song, with airy and sparkling guitar and bass work, before the band again sings in union, “Waiting for the sun to arrive, every day becomes undone,” before the most powerful statement in the entire album: “It’s gonna rise, it’s gonna rise, it’s gonna rise.”
Listening to Antlers’ confidence, there is absolutely no doubt or objection to the statement. With bands like this, there is no reason to believe the sun will ever actually set.
7.9 / 10
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