The Antlers' Discography a Map of Lost Love, Fear and Doubt
The cover of The Antler's fifth studio album, Familiars
Turn the question of what's familiar around and it becomes an examination of what's different.
For The Antlers' fifth album, Familiars, vocalist-guitarist Peter Silberman found himself writing in the middle ground, searching for what's changed and what's stayed the same in his own life - and in the band's sound - and what that means.
Sonically, The Antlers have crafted a more open, organic sound on Familiars, with multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci's trumpet serving as a counterpoint to Silberman's vocals, but still within the realm longtime listeners of Hospice, Burst Apart and Undersea have come to expect.
Lyrically, Silberman looks both outward and inward, centering on those particular moments and emotions in people's lives that are weighted with meaning.
"Over time you develop a relationship with yourself and that relationship changes," Silberman says. "I was trying to explore a lot of that throughout the songs. It's kind of a tricky subject to write about. It's putting a mirror up to yourself and describing what you see and what you feel."
Silberman says he kept the themes of The Antlers' past records - lost love, fear, doubt - in mind as he wrote for the new one, almost as if he was looking at a map of where those past emotions stand in his life and the distance he's come.
"Examining your own relationship to yourself is an interesting process and I found that I learned a lot about myself. That definitely informed the way the songs developed. With Familiars, sometimes I'm approaching things I've written a long time ago, from a different perspective," he says. "I'm circling back to some things I've thought a long time ago to see if I still feel that way. With time having passed, I'm able to see a bigger picture."
As he was examining his life, Silberman says he found the process of songwriting changing, both his own approach and how he, Cicci and drummer Michael Lerner worked together to construct The Antlers' songs.
"There's sort of an inevitable change that's happened over the years as the band has continued to write songs together," he says. "This time around I was very interested in seeing how an idea changes over time. For some of these songs, we began working with them and sat with the ideas for a long time and got to know them. But we made very subtle changes to the arrangements and the chord progressions and the way we were playing our parts. Those minor changes that lent a subtlety to the album."
The subtlety - more expansive arrangements, more instrumental details and flourishes - reflects the band deciding to hone in on what they were doing already rather than make any radical changes.