Free and legal MP3: The Antlers

Twinkly and hypnotic, with gathering force

“Two” – the Antlers

For a tune that pretty much loops over and over, “Two” has an uncanny–and almost unbearable–amount of grit, substance, and heartache. The song is part of a tightly-themed album called Hospice, which is clearly based on a tragedy in front man Peter Silberman’s life, a tragedy which is only amplified by his free-flowing but unpitying lyrics, his dry, falsetto-like tenor, and the music’s tinkly, buzzing, hypnotic momentum. For all its gathering, contraption-like force, “Two” retains a hand-hewn quality that adds to the pathos; and just listen to those pensive piano chords that appear intermittently (first at 1:53), commanding attention despite–or maybe because of–their quiet matter-of-factness. They’re kind of heartbreaking in their own way.

And I’m not normally a lyrics-focused kind of guy but this song demands a reading, so check it out when you have a chance. “Two,” by the way, is subtitled “Or, I Would Have Saved Her If I Could.”

The Antlers’ first release, in 2007, was a solo project for the Brooklyn-based Silberman; the band has since evolved into a trio, with more players joining in for the album. “Two” has been circulating around the blogosphere since last fall; Hospice is set for self-release next month. MP3 via the band’s site.