The Antlers

(together) EP

The most distinguishing quality of the Antlers has consistently been frontman Peter Silberman’s falsetto. Like the vocal performances of Antony, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (Silberman’s most obvious influence), his singing breaks, aches and reverberates consistently and steers where the rest of the Antlers should go next. One of the biggest failures of the (together) EP, a collection of alternate versions and outtakes from this year’s minamalist and heady Burst Apart, is that his heartstring-pulling voice gets frequently pulled from the menu during some lengthy instrumental breaks.

Most disappointing and ponderous of a trio of “collaborative versions” of Burst Apart songs is a remake of “Parentheses” with Bear In Heaven, which amounts to 18 minutes of empty, spacey krautrock noodling. A nine-minute slog through “Rolled Together” with Neon Indian takes the taut framework of the original and jabs it with Novocaine until it’s limp. Nicole Atkins provides a Stevie Nicks-esque salve on the only true vocal duet among the collaborations, a sparse version of “Hounds.” Add a tepid cover of the xx’s minimalist delight “VCR,” which Silberman sings with a complete lack of commitment, to the low points of (together). Invariably, it must have been much more fun to record all of these tracks must have been more fun to record than it is to listen to them.