Fresh Stream



Like a musical Roald Dahl, The Sound of Antler spin skipping rope songs with underlying expressions of violence and dread. The immediate voice and sparse accordion accompaniment is as minimal as possible, doubling the vocal melody with single bass notes like a child’s focused recital of her first lessons. Prose-like chunks of enjambment fight against the expected phrase divisions of these songs, echoing a child’s meandering syntax and providing an unstable, tumbling motion for the ear.

This delivery prepares some surprising material. In “Poirot,” the speaker dreams of living within the world of Agatha Christie’s cultured detective ostensibly for the middle school fantasy of all-play-and-no-work, but things quickly darken: “I wouldn’t have to work because I’d be / Companion to a lady / Who is in her late 60s / But she would die because of her riches.” The single string of clauses continues into more abstract implications of her desire: “No choices to be made or no / Need for huge leaps of faith just / Everything laid out like it should be.” A devilishly blunt schoolyard couplet begins “Yakuza”: “Once a man of terror’s luck had run out in Tokyo / The boss’ anger turned on him and three fingers had to go.” But immediately The Sound of Antler expand within to increasingly disturbing places, describing how the man cannot sleep “Because the hollow faces of the / People that he called to leave this earth / Are looking in his mirror.” The child-like music thus warps like The Shining twins.

The stories are punctuated by short, amoebic interludes of found sound samples, tape noise, scraping strings, and nonsense melodies. They cleanse the repetition of the vocal songs, but also musically extend their psychological messages. Them Bones is an eerie undertaking; well, except for moments like the inexplicable Casio jam “Love in the Old Folks Home,” the bits of black humor that balance the bleakness of the record with child-like whimsy.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License(unless otherwise indicated) © 2019