High Violet (Bonus Track Version)
The National perform like a band who have taken their lessons from Leonard Cohen, filtered them through the Tindersticks, stopped off to meet with Serge Gainsbourg, and landed somewhere in the Gothic soundfields of the 4AD record label. Each of their albums has received suitable praise and this album is no slacker. “Terrible Love” is the kind of late-night anthem that makes it hard to believe these guys exist in the present day and were once scheming on how to take over the world back in Ohio. The brilliant, heart-skipping pop of “Anyone’s Ghost” takes on the feeling of a Manchester rain where the icy core of isolation once explored by Joy Division is given a splash of color. “Lemonworld” dances to the end of love with a flashy nightclub backbeat that can’t hide the gray tones of the keyboards and the guitars that insist on their wallflower status. “Runaway” is arguably the sweetest tune here. Its gentle gait sounds like a come-on from a European coffee shop caught somewhere in time between the ‘60s and the new century, where music isn’t so much nostalgia but a means to create a better life for everyone involved.