The National

Trouble Will Find Me

> > May 17 2013

The National - Trouble Will Find Me
By Sarah MurphyIt's a paradox of criticism: bands will either get flak for staying sonically stagnant or ripped apart for losing the signature qualities fans first admired. The National, however, have managed to perfect sounding like themselves while putting out consistently impressive and forward-marching music. Trouble Will Find Me is no different. Following 2010's massively successful High Violet, the new record reins it in and tones down the arena-ready rock with songs that are immediately recognizable as the National, but never come across as generic or insincere. Despite Matt Berninger's unwavering knack for bleak lyrics, the band provide song like "Don't Swallow the Cap" and "Graceless" with bouncy, danceable backbones. Despite these brighter moments, they still know how to do sad, as demonstrated on heartbreaker "Slipped." But there's a greater exploration of the existential this time, with "Heavenfaced" and "Demons" hinting at mortality, something Berninger says was partly inspired by his four-year-old daughter. "Humiliation" touches upon this as well, ruminating about life ending in a more embarrassing manner. Trouble Will Find Me burns slowly, but melds together more seamlessly with each listen. It marks a solid follow-up to a record that could have propelled the National into sell-out territory, but instead allowed them the time and freedom to craft another excellent album.
(4AD)

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