Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reviewed:: The National - Trouble Will Find Me [4AD]

It was definitely a surprise and delight when I stumbled upon Matt Berninger from The National on The Colbert Report hyping the new album, Trouble Will Find Me. The surprise was that I hadn't known the new album was coming out so soon, the delight was Graceless which they played Live. The truth is, I usually only like about 60% of the National's work, I love the crap out of that 60%, but I tend to find the other 40% to be too dark and moody, sometimes it’s just too stark to be enjoyable, in my opinion.

So when I spun up the new album, the opening track I Should Live In Salt, I was worried, very worried. Its a bold way to start an album, and I must say its not my favorite. Thankfully I didn't stop there, because the rest of the album is a wonderful adventure. I'd classify the tracks as a successful study in contrasts that are put together masterfully. I initially thought they fell into two clear categories, but as l listened through the tracks I quickly realized that each song had many elements. Some of the albums highlights (songs that my executive editor could have predicted I'd love) Sea of Love, a song that is everything that is good and right about The National, it starts off with driving guitars and pounding drums, then it slowly builds and builds. Its hard not to be standing up and singing the final lines as the song reaches is climatic finale. Meanwhile, This is The Last Time is a dreamy slow burning track that finds the band exhibiting their gift for crafting strong melodies as well as Berringer's knack for penning morose and biting lyrics. The aforementioned Graceless features The National at their most cutting and volatile, the track has a strong chorus with excellent backing vocals and god knows I'm a sucker for good backing vocals

I think the real gems are within those tracks that I would normally classify as the 40%. Fireproof and Heavenfaced are like a mirror images of each other, with Fireproof demonstrating their craft with strong instrumentals and Heavenfaced showcasing Berringer’s vocal range. The albums final track, Hard to Find is a dark and menacing tale of a spurned lover, with a chorus laced with a little spite, "They Can All Just Kiss Off Into The Air".

After a shaky start Trouble Will Find Me is not only in heavy rotation and the only album I've listened to for about two weeks now, even if I still start of on track two. ~ Scott Gamester

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