Way back in March, the Antlers’ self-titled, self-released debut album was already making with-it music critics’ best-of 2009 lists. Since I’m not with-it and am notably over a week late for even the bandwagon (French Kiss released a “remastered” version to the public last Friday), I hope to make up for it with schmaltziness.
I won’t lie…I’m in love with this album because it plays to my weaknesses for painful emotions and sad backdrop stories. It’s the most cinematic thing I’ve ever heard a band, let alone a freshman band, produce. Part of the intrigue is behind frontman Peter Silberman, who secluded himself from the world for a year and a half to pen all of these songs and has declared that “I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time and energy on anything in my life“. There have been rumors that Hospice’s underlying story of a man’s destructive relationship with a cancer-striken girlfriend/lover is based on Silberman’s own experiences in a children’s cancer ward. Apparently these rumors are shrouded in a bit of mystery because Silberman declines to comment on any details in order to protect the parties involved, but he does note that the events are somewhat autobiographical. Most of the more recent interviews I’ve read focus on how the songs were inspired by a half-awake, half-dreaming state so I wonder if sleep paralysis is at play here as well. Although maybe I’m just saying that because I find sleep paralysis fascinating in and of itself.