it’s been two years since the antlers’ last full-length album, but the time has passed quickly. i had all of 2011 to digest burst apart, an album that fell short of the sheer emotive brilliance of hospice yet displayed an enormous growth of musicianship within the tight-knit trio. the back half of 2012 was sprinkled with consistent listens to undersea, a masterful ep that hopefully foreshadows the material to come on the band’s next studio effort. amidst all of the touring and recording, multi-instrumentalist darby cicci found time to write and record songs for his own project, school of night. on his self-titled debut ep, cicci clearly displays his dedication to the antlers’ core aesthetic without really adding anything significant to the palate.
an aspect of school of night readily available to discuss is cicci’s voice; it’s a dead ringer for peter silberman’s natural tessitura, so much that it can trick the casual listener into thinking they’re listening to an antlers track that sounds vaguely familiar. but while the antlers have time and again blended rock with electronic successfully, cicci chooses to focus only on the latter, creating a body of work that quickly begins to feel stagnant. school of night eclipses the half-hour mark despite only being five songs long, an issue that proves crippling to the success of cicci’s goal.
a song like “fire escape” is fantastic on its own; slow-burning and incredibly dreamy, it’s reminiscent of a b-side on burst apart that never actually existed. but when five tracks with an almost identical aesthetic are strung together, listening gets tiresome. if, like me, you’re looking for some antlers material to tide you over until the next studio album drops, school of night isn’t a terrible choice. i just wouldn’t recommend listening to the entire ep in one sitting.