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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 2019 | 4AD

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This eighth album from The National is refreshingly different, somewhat modifying the well-oiled mechanics of this American band. First and foremost, this is achieved through the presence of several female singers who support the leader Matt Berninger on most of the tracks. The most memorable are the performances of Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie’s bassist) on Had Your Soul With You, as well as the particularly poignant performances of Lisa Hannigan and Mina Tindle on So Far So East and Oblivions respectively, the latter being especially moving. Why this sudden feminine presence for an exclusively male band? It’s likely because the album was conceived after filmmaker Mike Mills asked The National to put his short film I Am Easy to Find into song form - a film which happens to be centred around a woman. It’s this relationship to images that has somewhat upended the Brooklyn band’s pop formula. There are a few references to some classics of cinema, chiefly Roman Holiday by William Wyler (1953). But apart from the new cinematic release, fans of The National will still find the legendary melancholy of the group in both the lyrics and the music. The presence of heart-wrenching strings on all the tracks (with the exception of the staccato violins on Where Is Her Head) as well as a recurring introspective piano (notably in the beautiful Light Years) will particularly be remembered. Bryan Devendorf’s singular rhythms plays on contrasts, occasionally making striking jerks (Rylan, The Pull of You) as well as adding a sensual flair (Hairpin Turns, I Am Easy to Find). © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz  
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 22, 2010 | 4AD

The National have worn a lot of hats since their 2001 debut, but they’ve never been able to shake the rural, book-smart, quiet malevolence of the Midwest. The Brooklyn-groomed, Ohio-bred indie rock quintet’s fifth full-length album navigates that lonely dirt road where swagger meets desperation like a seasoned tour guide, and while it may take a few songs to get going, there are treasures to be found for patient passengers. The National's profile rose considerably after 2007’s critically acclaimed The Boxer, and they have used that capital to craft a flawed gem of a record that highlights their strengths and weaknesses with copious amounts of red ink. High Violet oozes atmosphere, but moves at a snail’s pace. The Cousteau-esque “Terrible Love” hardly bursts out of the gate, and the subsequent “Sorrow” and “Anyone’s Ghost” (despite Bryan Devendorf’s locomotive drumming) lack the hooks to reel anybody in on first listen. The album begins to take shape on “Afraid of Everyone,” a slow-build midtempo rocker that expertly utilizes the Clogs’ (guitarist Bryce Dessner's other chamber pop band) prickly orchestrations, but it’s the punishing “Bloodbuzz Ohio” that serves as High Violet's centerpiece. Built on a foundation that fuses together TV on the Radio's “Halfway Home” and Arcade Fire's “No Cars Go,” its refrain of “I still owe money to the money, to the money I owe” seems both relevant and nostalgic, resulting in a highway anthem that feels like the anti-“Born to Run.” Other standout cuts like “Conversation 16,” “England," and the darkly funny/oddly beautiful closer, “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks,” trumpet Violet’s second-half supremacy, but even they tremble beneath the "Bloodbuzz" intoxication. Muscular, miserable, mighty, and meandering, High Violet aims for the seats, but only hits about half of them. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 8, 2017 | 4AD

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They’re not ones for making waves and it’s not often that their music comes out of supermarket or airport speakers. Yet The National have become a major band - major because they are able to sell out concert halls, stadiums even, in the blink of an eye. And above all, they continue to create indie rock while offering rather classic melodic frames that never stray far from the status quo. Less adventurous than Radiohead, Matt Berninger and two pairs of brothers (Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan and Scott Devendorf) use their individual and original ideas with the sole purpose of enhancing their songs. We find on Sleep Well Beast, which has just been released, this perfect mix of unified and experimental sounds which embellish their more than perfect compositions. As we often find with The National, simply listening just the once is not enough to be irradiated by the power of their songs. This is confirmed in this seventh album from the New Yorkers. Take your time, reflect upon each lyric, each instrumental effect. It is then and only then that the shell will open to reveal its beauty.
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2018 | 4AD

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Formed in 1999, The National is composed of Matt Berninger, the Dessnet brothers and the Devendorf brothers. In 2007, the band from Ohio released one of their greatest albums, the fourth: Boxer. Eleven years later, they bring it back into the spotlight with this live recorded in Brussels and perform the entirety of the disc. But yielding to increasing demands, The National also opted for an official release. Faithful to the first version, the band keeps almost the same visual for the cover, a picture of them on stage at the wedding of producer Peter Katis. The quintet perfectly perform here from beginning to end, for a faithful and responsive audience. Opening with Fake Empire, a small musical prowess of which we like the destructured aspect, mainly in the association of pop keyboards playing off-beat with Berninger’s voice. An obvious alchemy with Brainy on which the guitars, the bass and the drum perfectly harmonize in some kind of musical discussion. Up to the last track Gospel, there is some sort of hypnotic charm at play, notably thanks to the contrast of this deep voice on a light and intense melody. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2013 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 11, 2005 | Beggars Banquet

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 2019 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 22, 2007 | Beggars Banquet

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 8, 2017 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2010 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2018 | 4AD

Formed in 1999, The National is composed of Matt Berninger, the Dessnet brothers and the Devendorf brothers. In 2007, the band from Ohio released one of their greatest albums, the fourth: Boxer. Eleven years later, they bring it back into the spotlight with this live recorded in Brussels and perform the entirety of the disc. But yielding to increasing demands, The National also opted for an official release. Faithful to the first version, the band keeps almost the same visual for the cover, a picture of them on stage at the wedding of producer Peter Katis. The quintet perfectly perform here from beginning to end, for a faithful and responsive audience. Opening with Fake Empire, a small musical prowess of which we like the destructured aspect, mainly in the association of pop keyboards playing off-beat with Berninger’s voice. An obvious alchemy with Brainy on which the guitars, the bass and the drum perfectly harmonize in some kind of musical discussion. Up to the last track Gospel, there is some sort of hypnotic charm at play, notably thanks to the contrast of this deep voice on a light and intense melody. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2013 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 2, 2003 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2008 | Beggars Banquet

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 20, 2004 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 20, 2004 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 3, 2001 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 27, 2013 | 4AD

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Rock - Released February 28, 2020 | BMG Rights Management (Australia) Pty Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2014 | 4AD

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