Antlered Man – 'Giftes 1&2' (UK Release: 5 March '12) // Words: Simon Opie
I have really looked forward to this album since 'Surrounded By White Men' first burst onto my consciousness and was most unfairly overlooked for single of the month. Antlered Man radiate cool in what they do and how they do it and this album pulls together tracks that have already been released in different formats and some new stuff, too.
Does it live up to my unrealistically high expectations – not uniformly is the answer, but it does present a singularly intense musical experience. Opener, 'Outrages 1 ta 3' kicks off with a familiar, sinewy, eastern tinged riff on guitar and bass. It’s a brooding song with twists and turns, and a great start to proceedings.
'If You Can’t Beat Them, Try Solvents' follows and I must admit its far from my favourite but it carries momentum into the excellent 'Platoono Of Uno' with its Van Der Graaf Generator influences and almost Pulp-like jagged melody. 'Better The Calamity You Know' is a rather leaden effort but 'Surrounded By White Men' rounds out the first half in imperious style with its rocking Drum and Bass intro and whispered lyrics. It’s 54 gleefully extended seconds before it reaches full tilt and it really is a great song.
So over my interval cup of Bovril I reflect that it’s been a half of two (almost) halves – a pattern which is repeated in the second half of the album where 'Buddhist Soup', previously – and I believe accurately - commended as the only good song ever to feature whistling, 'Balloons, Needles, Sunlight & Evil' and closer 'Misruly Roo' are the high points. These two last songs also showcase some Queens Of The Stone Age influence, which of course is no bad thing.
Overall it’s a very entertaining, mostly great album of what might I suppose be called electro grunge. The rhythm section of Sam Ray (Bass) and Oliver Parker (Drums) is tight and swinging, the guitars of Danny Fury are sinuous and, yes, furious, and Damo Ezekiel Holmes delivers dark, but soulful vocals and astute lyrics.
If all the songs were as great as the best two or three, they’d already be massive but hey, there’s no rush. As it stands, it's a mighty fine start and this band remain firmly on my ones to watch list.
Purchase at Bandcamp. Find more info at antleredman.co.uk.