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Peter Silberman is a man possessed. His work with Brooklyn, New York indie project The Antlers often reveals this--dark primordial fears wrung from the cloth of his soul like dishwater from a rag--whether singing about young adults scheduling abortion appointments on Hospice or love's lack of stability throughout Burst Apart. That being said, the band's newest, Familiars, may just be their darkest album to date. The Antlers have often existed in imagined spaces--clean thought palaces placed upon precipices built on these primordial emotions. Like an off-kilter Arcade Fire, there always seemed to be something dreamlike and intrusive in the way Silberman has structured his lyrics. From the opening bars of 'Palace', the album's introductory track, it almost sounds as if the the band has stripped away some of their more subversive energy in favour of something a lot more straightforward. Light piano accompanies lyrics that could just as easily have come from Chris Martin, as Silberman laments "When heaven has a line around the corner / we shouldn't have to wait around and hope to get in."

And then, like fog fading on the reveal of a magic trick, layers of standard indie rock fare peel back into the cloudy mystique the band is known for. 'Doppleganger' is a sexy and dangerous track, with smoky sounding jazz brass emanating beneath an understated bassline that has film noir written all over it. As layered and complex as anything else the band has ever put out, 'Doppleganger' serves as a thesis statement for the rest of the album, if not only its strongest track. The track plays out as a reaction to the first's subdued calm woe. With veiled aggression bubbling beneath the surface, Silberman cries, "Can you hear me when I'm trapped behind the mirror /a doppelganger roaring from my silent kind of furor?"

 The album continues on in this fashion, with thick mournful brass overflowing like a full sink, punctured only by Silberman's sharp vocal style.

Moods give way to premature catharsis before diving once more into uncertain territory. Though the lyrics are elusive and often unintelligible, it's rare to find such profound sorrow articulated in such beautiful metaphors. 'Revisited' in particular stands out for comparing a crumbling relationship to an estate being dismantled via fire sale.
 Familiars is bleak and dreary, potentially at the cost of dragging in certain spots. However, those willing to spend enough time wrapped in its moody embrace will be rewarded with a quite beautiful experience.

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