The Antlers – Hospice Album Review

It’s interminably embarrassing that I didn’t discover this album sooner, seeing as it’s such a fucking masterpiece. Saying that, though, I’m in a pretty good place right now (I like my new job, I’m being monstrously productive, I’m travelling the country a lot, I want to curl up into a ball and lie on my bed for hours on end crying much, much less) and I feel like if I’d discovered this album when I was going through a bad spell of the old Black Dog Blues it would have ruined it for me. (It happened with City & Colour’s Bring Me Your Love – of which more later.)

I fail to see how Hospice couldn’t be Peter Silberman’s magnum opus, consider how utterly fantastic it is, and indeed, I tried listening to Burst Apart and it simply isn’t as good. ‘Putting the Dog to Sleep’ was a decent tune, but the rest just don’t live up to how great Hospice is.

‘Kettering’, of course, is utterly fantastic. It’s been used in myriad television shows and it’s easy to see why—it’s an astoundingly atmospheric piece of music. ‘Sylvia’, too, is one of my favourites on the album; he must be referencing Sylvia Plath in relation to his semi-fictional hospital patient, but I’ve not done enough reading to be sure.

My favourite by far on this album, though, is ‘Bear’. I have no idea what the lyrics mean—indeed, I don’t understand a lot of what the protagonist is saying—but ‘And all the while I’ll know we’re fucked and not getting un-fucked soon’ is poetry to me. Oh, and Silberman sounds a hell of a lot like Keaton Henson, especially in ‘Wake’, and I fucking love Keaton Henson. If you want to spend fifty minutes being disgustingly sad, listen to Hospice.

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