Love can’t buy a full room, no matter what the prophets of new media might say. Even when the gushing adoration gets issued from the fast-typing manicured fingers of a name-checking rock critic, it’s not enough to ensure that there will actually be warm-drinking bodies filling the club when the band finally walks out — at least not at Iota.
The Antlers shuffled into Iota on the last languid Thursday night, dragging the sonic fruits of an inaugural album, “Hospice,” and the slow-snowball of a slew of positive reviews and early “best in 2009” lists, stretching from Pitchfork to NPR. It’s the type of trilling whisp-heavy work, managing to build and stretch droning little pop songs into eerily depressing, slow building atmospheric foothills. The dark little missive may enchant and bewitch, but make it through the ten tracks, and a very strong chance that you probably won’t be in the state of mind known as happy.
It’s an album that plays better in the headphones than the speakers — the canvasses quaver but rarely overwhelm — but on Thursday when I sat down with front man Peter Silberman, drummer Michael Lerner and keyboard stroking effects-slathering master Darby Cicci, the trio promised that the sound would be brought.
“We try to make each song as dense and expansive as we can,” said Silberman. “I don’t always know who’s making each sound or where it’s coming from, but we try to build each song as full as we can.”