The CD may be a dying format but there are still bands whose physical discs I absolutely must own.
The National is one of those bands. It would be too easy to say this band keeps getting better - their 2007 album Boxer is still the pinnacle - but their sixth studio album Trouble Will Find Me, like High Violet (2010) before it, shows a band aging like fine wine. Rich warmth washes over you from the first notes of opener I Should Live In Salt, one of the album's highlights and a heartbreaking portrait of singer Matt Berninger's relationship with his much-younger brother.
Like the band Elbow, the National employ layers of instrumentation combined with heavy yet clever lyrics and lush production in a way that moves the soul. Other highlights: Berninger's drawl on Humiliation descending into a dark chorus; the pause before the chorus of the opening track; drummer Bryan Devendorf's relentless beat on Sea of Love and Berninger's catchy vocal refrains on many of the tracks.
It's a grower, this album, but once you're immersed you'll know it's well worth the effort.
Trouble Will Find Me
Rating: 4 / 5