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VOTD: The Antlers – “Sylvia”

17 Apr 2010

One of my favorite albums of 2009 was The Antlers‘ first studio album, Hospice — a return to the musical tradition of storytelling that is equal parts ethereal vocals, surging instrumentals, and heartrending lyrics. Hot on the heels of “Two” and a The Road-esque video for “Bear“, the band have just released a new video for the song “Sylvia”. According to an interview over at IFC with director Trey Hock, the video was inspired by the silent films of the 20s, in particular the 1919 film Broken Blossoms.

I tried to think of examples of truly frustrating or tragic unions. I felt that an argument with someone who was not physically there, would be the pinnacle of this type of torment. A restricted color palette and almost uncomfortably static shots kept coming to mind.

Thing is, I’m not sure if these deliberate creative choices ultimately enhance the song or diminish its power. I really like the various shots of “Sylvia” running away — they’re kind of Eternal Sunshine in that they capture the fleeting of memory. But the girl’s ghostly apparition and random closeups of the guy crying just make the video kind of awkward. The silent film influence definitely shines through, not only in the sepia tint, but even more so in the video’s pacing. I’m just not sure if it’s right for a music video, and more importantly, right for this song.

To coincide with the release of this video, The Antlers have also put out a 2-track EP for free download. You can download New York Hospitals here via Mediafire. More of director Trey Hock’s work can be seen over at his student page for the Savannah College of Art & Design. In the meantime, also have a listen to the Buffetlibre remix of “Two” — I didn’t realize it was possible for someone to turn this song into something so upbeat.

Two (Buffetlibre Remix) – The Antlers [download]

What do you think of the video for “Sylvia” and — for that matter — all of The Antlers’ music videos so far? Let your comments be known!

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