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The album opens with the slow drums and mournful vocals of “Terrible Love” but from the start there’s a simmering intensity that builds and eventually explodes into crashing cymbals, pummelling drums, distorted guitars and layered vocals. A dramatic entrance to The National’s fifth album. But it’s not all this heavy, as with their previous releases it’s an album of mood swings. Where “Terrible Love” was explosive, second track “Sorrow” is mournful and melodic.
And while the album changes mood and tempo, at times warm and intimate at others dramatic, propelled by off beat drum rhythms, there’s always a palpable intensity. I read recently that they find it hard to finish songs, with one or other band member frequently rejecting material. Whether the atmosphere created here is the cause or result of this I don’t know, but either way it works perfectly. Despite Matt’s melancholy, there’s something really uplifting about this collection of beautifully crafted mini epics.
Afraid Of Everyone
Terrible Love (Alternate Version)
Wake Up Your Saints
You Were A Kindness
Bloodbuzz Ohio (Live On The Current)
Anyone’s Ghost (Live At BAM)
England (Live At BAM)