Antiphons are a self-described “half rock band” from Richmond, VA who have recently released their debut album, Groan. Since evolving from the solo project of Brian Dove into the four-piece outfit seen on the record, the band’s sound has expanded to incorporate an array guitar- and drum-based sounds, creating songs with a palpable heft and weight.
After the lonely space-synth drone of the titular opener, ‘Weekends’ emerges as a chilled-out rumbling rock song, invoking parts of Local Natives, Roadkill Ghost Choir and Water Liars to form their own unique vibe. Dove’s vocals croon and quaver, at once driven and dreamy, conjuring a sense of desperate isolation as heard from within a huge yet gradual drift. ‘Tiny Rooms’ has a tangible sense of mass, at times big and heavy yet also switching to fleet-footed punk pop, all tied together with periods of subdued negative space.
“She stopped calling
and I’m not sure why
but I feel like
I should apologise”
Things start slow on ‘Flock’, Dove’s quavering voice weaving around sparse guitar ( “I was your peaceful dove once, you were my wild woman”), before eventually descending into a fully-fledged rock song with a squall of guitar and pounding percussion. This drive continues into ‘Rotten Apples’, which itself eventually founders, stranded on rocks to leave Dove’s falsetto floating around a sea of pulsing bass and shimmery guitar. The final track ‘Human Bruise’ is slathered in a kind of defiant self-loathing, countered by a repeated line towards the end.
“Its cool to be alive
most of the time”