Have you heard of Antler House? I’m willing to wager that most people have not; with only a handful of Facebook likes and a recently released debut, the band is just beginning to expand their reach. That debut, Through the Dirt, is definitely going to make a splash.
Setting the tone of the album is the first song, “Ark Set for the Skies”. It’s an easy-going, acoustic track. “On the Rocks” follows logically, keeping with the light folky sound of the first track, but perhaps a bit more upbeat. Shimmering electric lines grace the track, along with lovely background harmonies.
And then “Say Goodnight” begins. It has an unassuming, ambient introduction, but the instrumentation doesn’t take long to hit and create that perfect mix of longing, slightly off-key vocals and tones. The tempo picks up around the three minute mark with rhythmic electric guitar, and as quickly as it ramps up, it fades back into low-tempo awesomeness.
The shouting in the verses of “New Blood”, the desolate instrumentation in “Blank Photo Album”, and the general pace of each track on Through the Dirt all set Antler House apart from their musical peers. Frequently changing tempos and dynamic instrumentation create an overall sound that is more than simply interesting, it is gripping and textured. Their mellow song structures have the ability to draw you in and keep you there, in the midst of the outfit’s folk rock realm. Antler House takes their time through the album, and that’s entirely fascinating.
Some free background vocals, harmonies, and light guitar lines make Antler House Milwaukee’s response to Local Natives, or even Grizzly Bear. These songs will be awesome accompaniments for Midwestern road trips – trips somewhere where you can be open, free, and absorbed in all the harmonic folk rock that is Antler House. Be warned, this album comes with a 100% guarantee of toe-tapping, head-bobbing, and possible singing-along, all of which I may or may not be guilty.
Through the Dirt was released on May 3 through Milwaukee’s Delaware House Records. If you’re at all interested in the excellent folk that has come out out of Milwaukee (Myles Coyne and the Rusty Nickels, Soul Low), Antler House fits perfectly in their ranks. Be sure to check the album out above – this is a good one.