REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

The Antlers lose themselves in reverie on stellar fifth

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

One speed, seats fully reclined on beautiful latest from The Antlers


The Antlers - Familiars (OUT 16TH JUNE)

  The phrase
"beautifully oblivious" from album-opener
'Palace' seems to be a fairly good distillation of how
The Antlers approached fourth studio album
Familiars as it neatly captures the lightness and gentle pacing of an album intent on being little more than as lovely as it possibly can be. Which is of course a natural evolution for a group that has slowly expanded from the lone bedroom recordings of Pete Silberman (on the Microphones homage of 2006's
Uprooted and 2007's
In The Attic Of The Universe) to bona fide band and critical darlings with the jaw-drop angst of 2009's superlative breakthrough
Hospice. Follow-up
Burst Apart in 2011 felt more exploratory; trippy bombastic electronica and burbling synths running riot across ten tracks of gorgeous spacey wig-outs and heart ache so whilst
Familiars is from the off a notably more contracted affair, it’s certainly no the less affecting for its languid spirit. With 9 songs in 53 minutes it's an album that's in no hurry; an album happily lost in its own reverie as the band settle into simplicity with altogether warmer and more organic aplomb. Indeed the introduction of brass colouring aside (the trumpet renaissance continues a la
Stephen Malkmus earlier this year) there's a pronounced live feel usually with little more than bass, brushed drum, sparse chiming guitar and Silberman's beguiling vocals. The subtleties are therefore slower to reveal themselves but there's real majesty and beauty herein and plenty enough at times to start rivalling their own weighty legacy. Take the meandering piano heartbeat and trumpet swoon of the aforementioned
‘Palace’ that slow-burn crescendos to gorgeous bass and drum drop or the casual Motown guitar chink and groove of
‘Parade’ that waits nearly three minutes before it breaks in with its earworm of a refrain and cry for hope (
"all I know is this year will be the year we win"). And for all its barely-there elegance and utter commitment to glacial beauty (the falsetto segue of
‘Doppelganger’, the reverbed drum shuffle and film-noir muted trumpet of
‘Surrender’ or jazzy double bass of the Lynchian hotel lounge of
Familiars adopts a largely brighter outlook throughout, the careless trumpet ascent of
closer ‘Refuge’ a case in point, rounding things off in gloriously optimistic fashion; 
"you're already home and you don't even know it". Amen to that.  
9/10     Listen to Familiars
here The band will return to the UK in October, starting in Brighton on the 22nd and including a performance at the 
Hackney Empire in London as part of 
Transgressive Records' 10th Anniversary Celebrations. Dates below…  
Wednesday 22 October – BRIGHTON – Old Market
Thursday 23 October – BIRMINGHAM – Oobleck
Friday 24 October – LONDON – Hackney Empire
Monday 27 October – BRISTOL – Trinity
Thurday 30 October – DUBLIN – Olympia
Friday 31 October – MANCHESTER – Ritz
Saturday 1 November – GLASGOW – Oran Mor
Sunday 2 November – LEEDS – Belgrave Music Hall