Pop & Rock: Year in Review 2010
Published Nov 25, 20107. The National High Violet (4AD)
High Violet continues the envious feat of releasing another album that's superior to its predecessor. Boxer brought the Brooklyn-based quintet mainstream success; this record validates that attention. The album's highlight comes via Bryan Devendorf's drumming, which reaches new heights of intricacy. Swinging from frenetic outbursts to tucked away patterns, he controls the album's tension with jazz-like precision. The guitars move from jangly riffs to small rhythmic jabs, building anticipation for what's about to happen, while accenting overlaid piano lines. And Matt Berninger's calming baritone voice creates an inescapable emotional pull.