The Antlers - Palace | Track Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret
antlers

The Antlers

Palace

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Author: on April 7, 2014

The Antlers have always been unapologetically sincere, capturing heavy emotional scenes with no hint of irony or sarcasm, but our first glimpse of Familiars sees them reaching a poignancy previously untapped by their music. “Palace” is a stunning projection of widescreen feelings, an immersive take on questions raised by nostalgia and spirituality that can only be met with earnest introspection. The band crafts this space for the listener rather than the vocalist, as Peter Silberman assumes the role of a mentor in the conversation. His singing has been described as angelic in the past, but on “Palace” he actually sounds like an angel: the weightless inclusion of his vocals in the mix coupled with his androgynous tenor has him coming across as an ethereal entity, beaming down guidance from a celestial place. The effect is other-worldly, made transportive through a rich instrumental section embodying the track’s namesake. As an immersive experience, “Palace” is quite possibly the most rewarding in the band’s discography.

On paper, everything about this song might seem unbearably contrived. Silberman yearns for the oblivious days of his childhood. He wonders how he will get into heaven. The track bursts into a sweeping climax as he sings of that place, horns flourishing left and right with unabashed bombast. Yet “Palace” is somehow one of the most moving songs of the year, tugging sharply on the heartstrings until they unravel in a gratifying mess. The Antlers manage to negate cynicism by committing to every treacly moment and selling the hell out of it. Their artistic confidence is forcefully clear in the timing of these emotional triggers: each registers as wholly natural, yet the lush construction betrays painstaking attention to detail. More than anything, “Palace” suggests a special record in Familiars; as a first single, this is nigh on close to perfection.

 

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