Antlerand, formerly Invisible, is one of those bands
that are so musically talented that it's scary. Branches is
the first LP which the band has produced, and frankly for a first
effort, it is impressive. These guys sound like an experienced indie
band with organic downtempo electronica influences. Their music is
along the lines of The Postal Service, and they resemble Tortoise
with their glockenspiel infused tunes.
The band consists of three members: Chris Larson, Zach
Okun, and Delaney Kelly. Chris is not only an accomplished
guitarist and vocalist, but he is responsible for the stunning video
arts show during live performances. Zach, along with playing a variety
of instruments including bass, banjo, accordion and piano, has studied
the art of audio recording and done quite an impressive job with Branches.
Delaney manages to hold the album together with his ingenious rhythms
and percussion, which helps to keep this album on the shelves rather
than in some bargain bin of a used CD shop. The result of the collaboration
of the three musicians is an intensely sophisticated album which exudes
confidence and talent.
"We Know Better" is one of my favorite tunes on the record.
The song is short and sweet and has repeating lyrics which say "We
would like to think it's love / But we know better than that".
The song seems to perfectly portray that mood of a realistic outlook
on life, even though a desire for something different is present.
"I Love You Like Forgetting" is quite short but brings a
lot of emotion to the table with its quiet yet deliberate piano melody.
The background contains beautifully composed electronic layers of
various sounds and tones which rise and fall like waves quietly breaking
on a remote shoreline. "Not The Next Anything" shows how
well rounded the band is by creating soft diminished chords with stringed
instruments and piano and then contrasting those with the louder guitar
and drum set. Although this may seem strange, many of the songs manage
to pull off this type of contrast with style. Antlerand has truly
created a great album which at least deserves a listen for anyone
who enjoys a good indie band. Each track is very unique and brings
a lot of talent to the table while not wandering around the genre
boundaries trying to find itself.
I couldn't possibly end my review without absolutely raving about
their intense album cover art. The album cover art was not painted
by the band themselves, but Chris' roommate and local Portland artist
Marty Schapf. The painting is called 'Landmine Three' and it
very perfectly describes the multiple layers of music present in the
album, as well as the many different colors and tones found present
in Branches. You can find further artwork by Marty by going
to Antlerand's website and clicking on Marty's link. I would strongly
suggest taking 5 minutes out of your busy day to check it out.
1. Rows of Unbending Lines
2. Now It's a Year
3. Brighter Rays
4. Maybe We're Still Running
5. We Know Better
6. Not the Next Anything
7. On Their Screen
8. I Love You Like Forgetting
9. Make Nothing Happen
10. Far Too Clean
11. Three (In A Tree)
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