What does it sound like?:
2010 was a key year for The National. Their fanbase had been steadily increasing and their previous album, Boxer, had seen their profile rise considerably, helped along of course by the Obama campaign’s use of Fake Empire. This next album was crucial. It could consolidate their success and launch them onwards to the next level and the next and the next after that, the big font at the top of a festival listing and high profile album launch events, or it could misfire and see them consigned to the almost but not quite made it ranks of a thousand other indie bands.
You get the sense the band knew that. This feels like an album that has been laboured over. I don’t mean it’s tired and weary, more that it’s been pored over and crafted by people who have done their apprenticeship and are ready to show what they can do. The songs feel polished and strong, but it’s an album that lives on its arrangements. There are so many touches like the woodwind playing off the riff on Afraid Of Everyone, the strings on Little Faith, or the brass on Runaway that » Continue Reading.