by Craig Howieson
A change is gonna come: The Antlers bask in the regenerating power of change on Green To Gold – a record of illuminating beauty and endless possibilities
There is a special kind of magic that accompanies the first day of the year when the sun is up before you are. It acts as a marker that days are beginning to stretch, and an added illumination will walk with you – gently waking you from the stupor of winter. We lay plans, make promises, and stride out into crisp new days of potential.
The Antlers’ new record, Green To Gold, abounds with the possibility for regrowth and change we find in the turning of the seasons. A record written from a newfound place of contentment and domesticity in his home in upstate New York, songwriter, Peter Silberman, gives proof that things can change and will change if we let them. Having left the buzz of New York behind him five years ago, his settled home life and connection with nature has provided a wider perspective of the things that matter to him most – and where best to devote his time. On Just One Sec, he imagines what it might be like to view a friend or partner through fresh eyes – forgiving all past indiscretions: ‘Could you clear my cache, momentarily? / For just one sec, free me from me.’ While on Porchlight, he celebrates the wonder of loving connection – ‘If ever untethered, I know you’ll know.’
The titanic title track is a seven-minute step through the seasons. As he hazily wraps up a year in a song, he touches upon the fleeting nature of time, and how easily it can slip away from you if you are not paying attention. It is not a cause for sadness though, but another examination of the possibilities that time offers while we still have it.
Silberman’s ability to cut through his music with startlingly candid lyrics is something he shares with his inspiration and formative influence, Elliot Smith. And despite a shift to contented themes on Green To Gold, he still faces the harshest hands life can deal with staggering bravery. On It Is What It Is, he sings, ‘This is the first day our friend is free from pain / voyaging on / while the rest of us remain,’ which acts in itself as a startling acceptance of loss.
Silberman’s proclivity for affecting personal work has previously taken the form of raw confessionals – paned windows to worlds and situations where he is trying to find meaning. The songs that make up Green To Gold quiver with the same fragility; a gentleness that leaves them vulnerable to being blown over by stormy winds. Yet, this time around, his songs contain a new strength and resilience with which you believe they could right themselves again, and not fall victim to the devastation. Graceful horns cushion his once lo-fi indie folk, and bold unaffected piano and guitar lines lend the compositions an unshackled timelessness.
On what is now their sixth album of a 15-year career, The Antlers are living proof of their belief in the power of change, shifting shape and evolving with each release. And Green To Gold is proof that music does not have to emerge from torment to be affecting. A set of songs capable of lifting the veil on gauzy eyes, and stilling the aches of weary souls, it is one of their finest moments.
To read our exclusive interview with The Antlers’ Peter Silberman, and to support us in our endeavours to share the best in new music, subscribe to our zine here – it’s just £6/€7.50/$10 a year for four copies (inc p&p).