The National – Trouble Will Find Me

8.0 4AD
2013 

The National : Trouble Will Find MeCincinnati-born, Brooklyn-bred The National achieved critical acclaim with 2005’s Alligator, then commercial success as well with follow-up Boxer (QRO review), and from then on, there’s been no looking back.  Their tragedy manages to not be over-epic or over-intimate, but somehow both epic and intimate.  2010’s High Violet (QRO review) kept up the high standards, and now so does Trouble Will Find Me.  Admittedly, like Violet it lacks some of the excellent energy that made Alligator & Boxer so especially amazing, but that’s a minor quibble with a band of this caliber.

Trouble is a more reduced record than even Violet, with many moments and even full songs of stripped sorrow – but it’s always sorrow (of course, this is the band who played their song “Sorrow” over & over again for six hours straight recently…).  And this ain’t emo – there’s a humility to the band that’s impressively stayed with them throughout their success; hell, Trouble even has a song called “Humiliation”, which bores right into your soul.  When the album is at its best, the sadness envelops you, from the grand opener “I Should Live In Salt” through the easier & more relaxed “Don’t Swallow the Cap”, energetic “Sea of Love”, proceeding into greatness “Graceless”, penultimate melancholy sway “Pink Rabbits”, to closing elegy “Hard To Find”.

Of course not ever song on Trouble Will Find Me finds The National’s tragic sweet spot – the strings beauty of “Heavenfaced” gets a little dull in its reduction, for instance.  But The National are still finding greatness – not that it makes them happy…

The National – Sea of Love

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