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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Album Review - The National - High Violet

To be honest, the first 2 LPs that I heard by The National, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers [2003] and Alligator [2005] bored me.  That changed in an instant with the introductory poly-rhythm of Boxer's [2007] opening track, Fake Empire [mp3].  Some how, the combination of rhythm, textured pianos, bass and guitar, and Matt Berninger's remarkable baritone voice just clicked.  Boxer was a phenominal album, recieved absurd (but deserved) amounts of praise, etc . . .

Now 2.5 years an one EP later (The Virginia), they are back with a much anticipated follow up album, High Violet.  Big expectations here, and they don't disappoint.  An early single, released earlier this year, Bloodbuzz Ohio gave a hint at the new album's trajectory, and a full listen doesn't reveal many surprises.  High Violet is as great as Boxer was, but doesn't represent anything greater (or new).  Ok, perhaps there are some new textures - ie: Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks . . . but by and large this feels like a VERY closely related and natural extension of Boxer.  This feels like a band taking a 2nd stab and redefining and establishing its sound.  That is fine by me though - heck - I'll take 5 more LPs that fall in step with Boxer.  Go ahead, make a career out of it, and I'll be one happy fan.

High Violent does not disappoint.

Release Date:
May 11

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