This set of dreamy slow jamz from a trio of indie-fied white dudes starts with the bluntly titled “I Don’t Want Love” and ends with “Putting the Dog to Sleep”; in between, we’re treated to tunes named “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” and “Hounds.” Peter Silberman’s got sex on the mind, but it seems he’s not gettin’ any.
His loss is listeners’ gain, however. “Burst Apart” assimilates the best elements of pent-up sexual frustration and few of its downsides into sublime songs. This is most evident on “Putting the Dog to Sleep,” the nearly six-minute closer that pulls doo-wop influences into its mix unironically.
The smooth mood and shimmering guitars that otherwise characterize the album are traded here for distant, stabbed chords strung together by Silberman’s tenor voice wringing every ounce out of the phrase “Prove to me / I’m not gonna die alone.” Sounds maudlin at first blow, but there’s a twist: “You said, ‘I can’t prove to you / You’re not gonna die alone / But trust me to take you home / And clean up that blood all over your paws.’”
The song is in a 6/8 time signature and retains the slow-jam quality of the rest of the disc, making it a perfect slow-dance for the couple that’s realistic about the fact that love is just ridiculously difficult a good portion of the time.
While “Putting the Dog to Sleep” will have you mashing the repeat button, other tunes are just as worthy in different ways. “No Widows” adds a prominent percussion section to the dreamy keys and synths, making for a unique vibe. “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” is a barn-burner that peps up the proceedings and lets Silberman yelp out the title in a completely satisfying way. Fans of The National or The Walkmen will love this record, but they will find the quiet, dignified “Corsicana” a highlight.
“Burst Apart” is a beautiful collection of tunes that has been growing on me since first listen. The minor complaints I had at the beginning (very similar sound throughout, the occasionally maudlin lyrics) have been subsumed into my growing appreciation for the work as a whole (beautiful) unit. I’ll be revisiting both the disc and “Putting the Dog to Sleep” when it’s time to make best-of lists.
You can check them out tonight in Tulsa at The Marquee, 222 N. Main, with Little Scream, whom I can also highly recommend. —Stephen Carradini