by Matt Juniper
Artist: The National
Release: Trouble Will Find Me (2013)
Rating: 4.5 / 5
2010 marked quite the year for The National. The release of “Boxer” gave them worldwide acclaim but it was “High Violet” that truly thrust them into the spotlight, making them perhaps the biggest band in the world that 80% of the population has never heard of. Essentially they become the indie world’s worst kept secret – selling out multiple stadium shows in the same cities and headlining festivals across the world – yet still evoking blank stares from most people when I mention them. Such is the age of the internet I suppose, where it is all too easy to ignore pretty much anything we are not directly seeking out.
2010 was also the first time I ever really worried about The National. They’ve been my favourite active band for the better part of a decade. The tortured mess of songs that make up “Alligator” form what is probably my favourite album ever. And then “Boxer” reigned all that energy in and harnessed it, a collection of songs that feel restrained but always ready to explode. Then came lead single Bloodbuzz Ohio from “High Violet”, one of the least inspired songs by The National to date. Sounding much like a b-side from “Boxer” and that the band was just phoning it in. For a band so reliant on subtlety of storytelling, the loss of authenticity is a death sentence.