Antiphons has made a surprising return for the second time in 2017 with more of that rock-n-roll we’ve all come to enjoy. “We were trying to be a little ambitious and get two releases out in one year, and I’m glad that we did,” singer/guitarist Brian Dove said.
Fine, a five-track EP just released on Citrus City Records, doesn’t just consist of leftover tracks from the group’s debut album, Groan, released back in January. These songs were written directly after the debut’s release. “We were thinking about going headstrong right into LP 2, but we got these five songs finished and we realized we weren’t quite positive about what we wanted the second full-length to sound or feel like,” Dove said. “When we got the five songs, it felt like a good cohesive piece together.”
The group had finished writing this five-song set by May. Recording over at the Virginia Moonwalker in Mechanicsville took only a few days. Tim Falen of Trrrash Records mixed and tracked the EP over the course of a few weeks.
With the group making serious waves this year, Dove spoke on the four-piece’s humble beginnings and how that helps moderate their newly acclaimed fame. In 2011, Antiphons was the name Dove used for songs he wrote that didn’t fit the sound of the band he was then a part of, Brother Wolf. “It was originally experimental folk; acoustic guitar driven,” Dove said. “The first iteration of a live band was in 2013, but I moved away to Oregon for a year, and we started it up again after I moved back to Richmond in 2015.” After playing quite a few hometown shows, the group went on tour. They eventually released Groan on vinyl through Gigantic Noise, based out of Illinois, with an additional cassette release from Citrus City.
Fine stands as an example of the group’s expression and progression of their own sound. As stated on their Bandcamp, “With these five new tracks, Antiphons stride confidently into the realm of guitar-driven rock music which they had flirted with on their debut.”
Aiming to leave a different, bittersweet taste in their listeners mouths, Fine begins with “Benadryl,” which is almost an overture, solely driven by heavy guitar riffs. Dove is able to demonstrate some diversity in his range as well as lyrical content; his confidence peeks through. Title track “Fine” is one minute and seventeen seconds of energy, and I find myself vibing with Matthew Stinnett’s rhythm on the drums.
“Flesh” is the one song I’m not a huge fan of just because it stutters during the first few seconds, but does find its sound by the end. My personal favorite of the projects comes with “Rattlesnake,” which uses a distorted and melodic guitar, but truly finds my heart through Dove’s falsetto and the swelling commotion disguised as accompaniment. “Burnt” is also in the tops for me; melancholic lyrics, instrumentation, and more killer foundation by Stinnett.
In addition to being Antiphons’ frontman and chief songwriter, Dove is also the credited artist for Fine’s album artwork. And he didn’t stop at the cover, either. In conjunction with the new EP, Dove has made something extra special for any Antiphons fan. “We’re releasing a deck of tarot cards that I designed and illustrated, which goes in tandem with the style of the album artwork. A run of 20 decks were made,” Dove said.
You can catch Antiphons, Fine, and their tarot cards on Saturday, Dec. 9 when they perform at Hardywood along with NYC psych-poppers Zula and fellow locals Private Cry. The show starts at 6 PM, and admission is free. Click here for more info.
Photo by Craig Zirpolo, via Facebook