The Antlers are a little grandiose as a band. You could say that. The first song I heard was 2007's "The Universe Is Gonna Catch You." A ripped-off Shins chord progression and a fuzzed-out explosion of a chorus made it a satisfying ride. But look again: "the universe is gonna catch you." It's so big you could drive a truck through it. Trying to get your mind around a song title and lyric like that is like trying to tackle Philadelphia. It's too big to wrap your arms around.
So, here and now The Antlers, big as ever, are poised to be one of the "it" bands of 2009. With an album, Hospice, waiting in March and lead-single, "Two" already hitting the airwaves (read: internet), we're maybe ready to catch the universe or have the universe catch us. We might have finally grown up enough to handle this.
"Two" is a brutally tough meditation on death, possibly via cancer or some other terminal illness. Or it could be a metaphor. We do know that "Two" is subtitled "or, I would saved her if I could." Failed relationship? Cancerous mole? Hard to say. But it's six minutes long and is building for all but the last half. You hear a tiny little guitar progression that ends with something almost propulsive. But as it builds the lyrics tell of failure; crushing disconnection and loss. To be forever bound to another, to be one of a possible two, is nothing but a six-minute ache in your chest.
Listen :: The Antlers - "Two"