The National - Trouble Will Find Me

New National anthems

The sixth album from Brooklyn’s The National sees them continue an impressive run of form which has left them seemingly on the verge of mainstream success. While previous album High Violet felt like an, at times, slightly tempered conciliation of past glories, Trouble Will Find Me manages to pull off the impressive trick of finding the band at once at their most direct and musically inventive.

For those not acquainted with their brand of heart-swelling, roof-raising indie rock, the opening track tells you much of what you need
to know. Frontman Matt
Berninger croons enigmatic
misgivings over a backing of
off-kilter acoustic guitar and
other-wordly synth noodlings,
gradually building to an
awkwardly anthemic chorus
in which Berninger suggests,
“I should live in salt for
leaving you behind.” It’s an
unsettling mix of the
devastatingly personal and
grandstanding that’s so
typical of the group.

While Berninger’s way with
an evocative, unexpected turn
of phrase is as winning as ever
(“I was a white girl in a crowd
of white girls in the park…
I was a television version of
a person falling apart”), never
before have The National
relied so heavily on keys, with
synths beautifully colouring
these tracks. The piano-led
Pink Rabbits is the highlight,
a swirling ballad reminiscent
of Elliott Smith. Elsewhere,
Don’t Swallow The Cap and
Graceless are visceral
reminders of their past. Too
weird for the sales some
expect of them and,
thankfully, another triumph.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

4AD | tbc (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jamie Atkins
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