The first sounds are sorrowful, almost mournful, with a plaintive horn accentuating the mood. They build up, while still holding that same ambiance and tone -- emotionally, it feels like a yearning, a wistfulness, a melancholy.
As for the album as a whole, it's strongly measured, thoughtful, provocative, and purposeful. While being low-tempo, the album is nonetheless a force that creates an emotional resonance.
The Antlers - "Palace"
Familiars sounds meandering; it's not. It is meticulously spaced and the sounds are all well-placed throughout. This is not the album that's going to keep you awake on a cross-country drive, but it IS the album that you'll play when you want to space out, chill out, or pass out, all while listening to something beautiful.
CD Placement Rating: Car CD Changer.
Merch Rating (yes, I still do this occasionally): borderline check out the back catalog. I'll see what allmusic.com recommends and take a flier on at least one more album. Money talks, people.