~ November, 2007 ~


The National – Boxer

Just a quick note to say that this album.. whoa. Really good. Lush, but not overblown. Moody but not morose.

Musically, it’s a cross between Wilco, Joy Division, and Lou Reed, and is fronted by Matt Berninger’s deep, rich vocals which wrap around your mind and make you question why you spend your time listening to other bands which, in retrospect, sound a bit like whiny teenagers. If anything, maybe the vocals are a little too prominent, but for me, it works.

The first track, “Fake Empire”, gives a sense of what the album is all about. It starts out with spare vocals accompanied by a piano playing what starts out sounding like a badly played three against two pattern, which reveals itself to be a much more complex pattern once the percussion kicks in. The song builds and swells, adding horns (without sounding like a carnival or a mariachi band, which almost all bands that include horns end up doing..)

And all of this without sounding pretentious or showy.