Released: June 2014
Melancholy, ethereal, vast, sprawling. These are just some of the words that have been used to describe The Antlers’ music, and with their new record, Familiars, those adjectives are once again entirely justified.
Much like when Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) became a thing in the 1990s when demand for a more thought-provoking branch of dance was high, the same can be said for the indie revolution. Gone are the four-chord, proto pop-punk guitar twanging of Razorlight, The Kooks and The Killers, and in is the slow-building, synth-driven indie of the likes of The Antlers. IIM if you like.
Combining gentle brass flourishes in the midst of swathing charges of synth and organ, The Antlers have crafted their own branch of intelligent indie all about epic build ups, reverb drenched vocals and a sense of atmosphere. One need only hear Palace followed by Doppelganger to know that this isn’t your standard song structure.
Eschewing a looped melody and traditional arrangement for an otherwise more textured sound all about feel and layers, Familiars is a record to listen to as a whole.
The songs are long – often breaching six or seven minutes in duration, but there is no denying it suits the style they are going for. But fans be wary – if you are looking for a sing along record or the soundtrack to your next festival visit, this is not that record. But what this record is is accessible. Fans of Sigur Ros, Noah and the Whale, and even classic prog such as Yes and No-Man can appreciate Familiars in all its majestic glory.
An unassuming and chilled album most certainly, and for the thinking man or woman’s music taste, look no further than The Antlers.