CD reviews: The National

The four-year gap between Trouble Will Find Me and latest album Sleep Well Beast finds The National in typical form - i.e. vocalist Matt Berninger's brooding baritone is fixed to a molten, ever-shifting bedrock on which he throws his oft-cryptic lyrics.

The key to the tension of this group is the balance/tension between Berninger's almost droll delivery and the intensity of the playing, perhaps best exemplified by lead single The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, on which a fuzzy electric guitar dips in and out of an almost urgent rhythm.

Elsewhere, Walk It Back's synth pulses frame a spoken delivery and Born to Beg's lilting piano riff allows Berninger to reflect on a relationship.

The National. Sleep Well Beast. 4AD.
★★★+
Single download: Nobody Else Will be There

For those who like: Joy Division

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