We all already know & love Matt Berninger as the frontman for the indie-amazing The National. Indeed, it’s actually kind of surprising that he hasn’t had a solo album out until now, what with all the work the others in the band have done, such as recent side-project Royal Green and producing much of the latest Taylor Swift album. Serpentine Prison naturally leans towards the intimate, but still with the trademark National sadness.
Instead of the big rock songs or intricate alt-classical, Berninger gets up close and personal on Prison. “One More Second” (QRO review) is even conversational in its heartbreak, while there is a wry acceptance to “Take Me Out of Town”, sweet acceptance on “Collar of Your Shirt”. There are larger moments, like the guest stars behind the powerful tragedy of “Distant Axis” (QRO review), and the bigger carrying sorrow of “All For Nothing” that is more akin to The National, but then the record finishes with Berninger’s personal sad carry along title track (QRO review).
Serpentine Prison is not a step away from The National, and you didn’t want it to be. The intimate nature does not skimp on the production – this does not just feel like some National demos. Like his starring turn in his brother’s great tour documentary Mistaken For Strangers, Serpentine Prison is another reason to love Matt Berninger.