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Album Review: Green to Gold by The Antlers

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The Antlers are an indie rock band from New York. The band has had a few members come and go along the way, but has always been a project of Peter Silberman. While never having commercial success, their fans favorite (and probably a cult classic) would be Hospice which has many hidden meanings behind it. The Antlers disappeared for a bit after their 2014 album, Familiars, but have returned seven years later with their sixth studio album, Green to Gold.
 
The first track we have from the album is Strawflower. The track starts with some silence, but then a drone from some synth starts to come in. That also fades out, but then we start to have some percussion and a single guitar comes in. This definitely seems a lot more calm and peaceful compared to what I've heard on their previous albums, especially compared to Hospice. Over the course of the track, they seem to be adding instrumentation, such as more string instruments and a piano part. Other than that, this is just an instrumental track to open up the album.

Wheels Roll Home keeps up with the calm and peaceful vibe that was introduced on the first track. You have a light guitar and piano part that seem to carry out through the track. We also have some light vocals from Peter on here. While the instrumentation stays the same for most of the track, Peter carries out the end of the track with the repeated lyrics 'When your wheels roll home, no more you roam.' While this was a promotional single for the album, it is growing on me.
 
Some droning notes from the previous track smoothly run into Solstice. Besides our usual instrumentation, we do have some nice harmonies that are sung on this track, which just adds to the beauty when everything is put together. Peter seems to be talking about the summer solstice since he talks about how the week went slow, but the year went by quickly. It also seems to talk about sitting out in the bright night since the sun doesn't set as early. 

Stubborn Man is exactly what you would expect lyrically, but instrumentally, it has changed. While he opens up the track saying he's a stubborn man, you just have a quiet drum kit keeping beat, but some other small instruments, such as orchestral strings and a piano. The instrumental breaks are nice on this track, but I guess I'm missing something since this really isn't clicking with me. Maybe I'm just expecting something more from them at this point of the album.

Just One Sec definitely seems like one of the more raw tracks on the album, at least for the first minute of the track. We just have an acoustic guitar which makes it sound like the entire track will sound like that, but it opens up later on. We can also here the emotion in Peter's voice as he's singing on this one. We do have some input from Peter on this one and he says this track is about forgetting the reputation about someone you know closely and allowing each other forgiveness. The end of the track just drones out with some different orchestral string chords.

It Is What It Is livens up the mood again, even if it is slow paced with it's scattered guitars. Besides the usual strings that have been present for most of the album, we also get some instrumental breaks with a saxophone solo. While the lyrics are still up for interpretation, some people have pointed at this track have a political aspect to it and comparing it to the pandemic and how Trump has handled things over the course of it.

Volunteer starts off a bit more rough with the instrumentation, at least with the vocal effects they add to this when recording. It sounds like it's coming from a distance, but I trust them with what they're trying to do with the producing/mastering. The lyrics are a bit puzzling, especially since it sounds like Peter's taking one or two words at a time. The other puzzling parts is with the chorus when he talks about 'Sprout here another year, volunteer.' I do love the fade into nothingness at the end of this track to give it an eerie sort of feeling.

Next we arrive to the title track, Green to Gold. It's the exact opposite of what I would expect from the title track since it has a completely different vibe as it opens up. We have a simplistic drumkit that carries on, but we get different strings that come and go. Again, this track focuses on the concept of time and seasons. He talks about the unrelenting heat during the summer, but also talks about the change from summer to autumn with the changing of colors. While this is the longest track on the album, it's nice to hear the the track in it's entirety.

Porchlight definitely switches the tone of the album back up. At this point of the album, I would have been fine with Green to Gold as the closer, so this just seems like extra, or a b-side track that was thrown on to here. There's nothing inherently bad from this track, but it's just boring after we had the high point of climax of the album from the previous track. I guess I'm just left wanting more high points.

Equinox happens to be the last track we see from the album, and it's actually the shortest, clocking in under three minutes. The last track seems to have a small transition into this one, but not much of a noticeable one. Other than that, the albums ends off just like how it started, with an instrumental track. It also seems to continue with the seasons since the title is Equinox, which is probably a reference to the autumnal/fall equinox.

Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Wheels Roll Home, Solstice, Volunteer, Green to Gold
 
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