Antler

Nothing That a Bullet Couldn't Cure

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AllMusic Review by

Vocalist Craig Riggs and guitarist Tim Catz didn't exactly set the world afire with their exceedingly average retro/stoner rock band, Roadsaw, but appear keen to finally leave their mark upon the music world with their more recent Southern rock-flavored outfit, Antler. The group's finely executed eponymous debut already hinted as much in 2004, and its 2006 follow-up, Nothing That a Bullet Couldn't Cure, actually confirms it, proffering what has to be some of the most earnest and authentic derivations of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd ever to emerge from the Bean Town freeze. It ain't even as simple as copy-cattin', either; Antler rarely take the obvious route with their songwriting and traverse a very wide terrain across the Southern states along their journey. Horns, for instance, weren't something you'd associate with the biggest names in Southern rock, yet they figure prominently in the first song here, "The Gentle Butcher." Likewise, Antler turn the astoundingly heavy "Black Eyed Stranger" into a forbidding funeral march that's arguably meaner than Blackfoot, and, on the gently grooving, organ-rich "Behind the Key," sound like Radiohead until they unleash a searing guitar solo that the Brit-pop creeps would never dare touch. Additional standouts like "Deep in the Hole," "Frozen Over," and "My Favorite Enemy," though less prone to such surprises, boast chunky-sweet guitar riffs Roadsaw never dreamed of rich, spot-on organ accompaniments they had no means of performing, and, in the case of "A Little Goes a Long Way," spectacular gang choruses, to boot. Throw in a couple of slow-burning blues ballads in "Reminds Me of a Way" and "A River Underground," and Antler have themselves a surefire winner here; a pleasant surprise.

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