Live: Blossoming Romance Burst. The Antlers, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire.

An inventive and exceedingly intelligent indie pop LP, The Antlers' fourth full-length Burst Apart courted an admirable heap of adoration from most corners musical. A record to fall in love with and indeed to, profound intricacies and secret spaces seemed to unlatch once it was allowed to nestle away in the rosiest atrium of your heart in order that it fully bloom. It's thus somewhat unsettling that when the diminutive figure of Peter Silberman initially emerges to emit a gruff "Good evening" any wooing to have gone on with the record is reciprocated with an apathetic whoop or two.

Opening up with the gut-wrenching No Widows, its glittery synths glossed; its rhythm slowed to a penetrative clomp the fluid harmonies and lustrous spotlights that dive down through an overwhelming blue like sunlight seeping through foggy ocean lend a thalassic quality to this most inviting of intros. We stand static as a so-called 'wall of mouths' and most are splayed agape. Some stunned; others engaged in ceaseless blather, the locational juxtaposition of pools of startling hush and others of rippling burble is as odd as the muted response to have been squeezed out of their arrival. "We'll keep getting better", an evidently unquiet Darby Cicci utters and lamentably ennui becomes increasingly apparent throughout. To then blurt the revelation: "You won't know this song" may only serve to disconnect yet further, were this new creature by the name of Drift Dive not endowed with such lush crunch. If Silberman's vocals waft whimsically, if quite wonderfully between the wearied bristle of Patrick Watson and almost avifaunal cooing that stretches out beyond soaring as it floats up toward altogether celestial altitudes, in this instance they tranquilly levitate somewhere between heaven and here. Sonically however it's rather less defined and sadly sounds as though refracted through those murky waters aforementioned.

The funk lilt of French Exit follows, Cicci looking vengeful to the verge of wanting to pull teeth from the yapping jaw of every inconsiderate talker. Even if the lucid crispness it purports on record may here be lost amid the squelch of sound to clash tidally up against every eardrum it's one worth encircling incisors with string and slamming the door shut for, such is its seductive pulsation. If it may be considered the clawed finger beckoning to under-the-cover embrace, the heck-for-leather bombast of Parentheses is the proverbial two-finger salute as its stentorian riffage drowns the murmurs in a deluge of impenetrable throb that momentarily borders on the avant-garde. Reverting to future prospects for a moment meanwhile, if Drift Drive may instantaneously enamour then it'll perhaps take a little more time to fully relish the cumbersome number that is Crest ("in parentheses: Like the Toothpaste", we're cheerily informed for the aid of factual clarity) as it first sounds like a prototypal Feeling Good and later purely lacklustre.

Thus with the evening already seemingly a little love/ if not hate then certainly indifferent, a protracted take on euphoric Burst Apart blowout Rolled Together distances further as Silberman and touring guitarist Tim Mislock run through the virtuoso motions of emphatic guitar romping and intimate canoodling with their respective amps. It's deplorably about the most affection they're tonight furnished with, their jovial pleas for marriage proposal from someone; anyone; everyone in order that they may relocate to the UK woefully disregarded. The (at least allegorical) romantic subplot continues as Silberman hurls out the bouquet adorning his mic stand. Catching a more natural light as it floats on overhead, its florets are exposed as being but silk roses clinging lifelessly to plastic stem. Will disillusion and disappointment befall its catcher in amongst the bystanders? Perhaps although as Cicci confesses: "I don't know if this date's going well or terribly", it's bemusingly difficult to tell. They return for an encore of "old song" Kettering and the cinematic slow-dance sway of Putting the Dog to Sleep (scrumple up ears and it almost sounds like Springsteen's here with us) although with literary effusions gradually diffused, like the initially raw emotion of the wedding party emotivity too dwindles. Love could, and indubitably should have tonight been fully requited. I guess some relationships don't quite work out just the way you'd want them to...