Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pitchfork Spotlight: The National

As of late, The National have etched a definitive name for themselves in the music industry. Not only does this presence include the Dessner bros. curating what is being considered one of the best albums of the year, Dark Was the Night. Not to mention they have managed four albums (six, including EPs) that get stronger with each listen. The band is based out of Brooklyn, New York but consists of friends transplanted from Cincinnati. The band consists of a pair of brother sets (The Brothers Dessner and Devendorf), who mainly cover the instruments and Matt Berninger who covers the song writing and is the primary vocal throughout. Reportedly either back in the studio already or preparing to be there, audiences of recent performances have been getting a taste of new songs. Initially only being familiar with the latter two LPs (Alligator, Boxer) and the Cherry Tree EP, I have recently delved myself into their first two albums. It is quite enjoyable to see how a band evolves creatively and from each album learn what is successful for them and then see that transference in the next album. . In an interview earlier this year, Matt spoke about staying true to an artist’s ability to welcome change in their personal journey as an artist. For a band that has had a lot of growing success to address such a grounded issue all artists face regularly, its respectable. It restores any faith that is dissolved by bands that find success and forget their creative ways.

I find myself yearning for a time frame when things seemed much simpler. There is a certain nostalgic quality emitted from their music and is very reminiscent of growing up in a pre 911 America, the smell of firecrackers in the air, eyes red from chlorine and less violence on TV and in the world. The lyrics and themes throughout the catalog of songs place the listener as the first person recipient of endearing thoughts, unsaid words and eloquently laid lover letters. I have a feeling if Lloyd Dobler existed in the 21st century, boom box overhead The National would be blaring from it. Matt’s crooner baritone voice begs for everyone’s attention in its straightforward romanticized manner.

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