Friday, 28 June 2013

The National- Trouble Will Find Me

Trouble Will Find Me is the sixth studio album from American indie band The National, in a way it's a slight departure from their previous records. That same brooding stark reality still exists but musically it feels lighter more melodically driven than their previous albums. There is still that sense of doubt and uncertainty even despair and misery in the content of the songs but the setting conveys this in greater depth. The sound is big and atmospheric like a rolling cloud that envelopes its surrounds.

Lead singer and main songwriter Matt Berninger has the perfect voice for capturing the uncertainties of life, that feeling of grasping at something and catching nothing but thin air. Opening track I Should Live In Salt is about the crumbling of a relationship set against the backdrop of layered melodies, each song on the album is meticulously crafted musically, it has a very full sound. Demons is about wanting to rise above it all, the loss of love but inevitable bowing to the crush, Berninger sings it with remarkable acceptance of the situation,

All my drowning friends can see, now there is no running from it
It's become the crux of me, I wish I could rise above it 
But I stay down with my demons.

Don't Swallow The Cap is another awkward move toward acceptance, the idea that everything you want is there and you want grasp at thin air but still there is that fear that nags beneath the skin. The song has an insistent piano chord that just rings on every beat, like a warning bell.

Everything I love is on the table
Everything I love is out to sea
I have only two emotions
Careful fear and dead devotion
I can't get the balance right
With all my marbles in the fight.

The anthemic Sea of Love is the biggest leap musically for the band, however don't expect a cliche rock anthem, the band are too good for that. There is a decadent tone to the song, the idea of risk, 'if I stay here trouble will find me', love can sting despite the virtuousness of its essence.

Hey Joe sorry I hurt you
But they say love is a virtue

Heavenfaced continues this sense of duelling notions embracing love whilst having one foot out the door, they create these interesting moral juxtapositions in each song.

I could walk out but I won't,
In my mind I am in your arms
I wish someone would take my place
Can't face heaven all heavenfaced.

With Graceless there is no distinction, only darkness and the desire to erase it all from memory,

Is there a powder to erase this
Is it dissolveable and tasteless
You can't imagine how I hate this.

I Need My Girl is a thin facade that everything is ok, Berninger attempts to reassure that everything is ok but all the while he feels smaller as his relationship disintegrates. The song is awash with guitar notes that wash up against the layered synth sounds, drums pounding in the background. It's hard to describe how big a leap this album is from their previous album High Violet, which is an album I really love. I felt a real trepidation about this album because I was sure that they were going to reach too far, but they have reached and they have grabbed hold of a beautiful record. It builds on their recurrent themes but it does it in a refreshing way, I hope they tour this album.

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