Born out of the chaos of the hurricane that ripped New York state apart last year the Brooklyn based band have produced one of their most calming and satisfying releases yet.
That is not to say the blistering drumming on Boxer’s great hits such as Mistaken For Strangers, or the stadium sized rock of 2011’s High Violet aren’t satisfying. But with Trouble Will Find Me the band’s search for a sense of calm amid the chaos around them gives it a wonderful simplicity and extra satisfying glow.
For me The National’s greatest strengths have always been Bryan Devendorf’s Joy Division-esque, off beat drumming and singer Matt Berninger’s deep, haunting vocals, and it is these two aspects of the band that are the welcome focus of Trouble Will Find Me’s production.
The writing and arranging skills of brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner are still integral to their sound though; its just more subtle on this album, with their low key flourishes played down in the mix and giving Trouble Will Find Me an additional level that demands frequent listening, such as on the wonderful opener I Should Live In Salt.
Demons sees Berninger’s vocals seem somehow deeper across its wonderful chorus as the Dessners stay in the background controlling proceedings. Among other high points are the epic Graceless, Don’t Swallow the Cap and the brooding Fireproof, the nearest they’ve got yet to Radiohead’s stadium sized music. Sea of Love is another standout, with vocals and drumming marrying perfectly.
As with their albums from Alligator onwards the National are still reliably consistent, never poor. Even their weaker songs on this album, such as Slipped and Pink Rabbits, are firmly under grower category offering a long term cosy blanket to calm the nerves.
by Joe Lepper