The Antlers

In the Attic of the Universe

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Peter Silberman's second release under the project name the Antlers, In the Attic of the Universe starts with over 60 seconds' worth of ambient noises that never quite coalesce into the sort of scene-setting picture in sound Silberman must have wanted. It doesn't bode well for In the Attic of the Universe, but within its first verse, the ensuing opening track makes up for its inauspicious beginning. "In the Attic" has the ramshackle feel of Neutral Milk Hotel's early home-recorded cassettes, not least because Silberman's tightly wound edging-into-falsetto voice occupies a similar sonic space to Jeff Mangum's. But Silberman is a more direct and focused songwriter, and "In the Attic," like the rest of this too-brief album, also features some canny arrangement choices that suit his indie folk melodies. Even mostly instrumental link tracks like the brief "Look!" are fully composed transitions rather than mere atmospheric interludes. Elsewhere, the grandiose "On the Roof" sounds like a slimmed-down one-man Sigur Rós minus a few layers of bombast, and the ghostly quiet "In the Snow" is a simply lovely reverie for reverb-heavy guitar and a hushed lead vocal that recalls Antony and the Johnsons. At eight songs in not quite 27 minutes, In the Attic of the Universe packs in more melodic ideas than many similar bands are able to stretch into an entire career.

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