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High Violet

The National

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iTunes Editors' Notes

The National perform like a band who have taken their lessons from Leonard Cohen, filtered them through the Tindersticks, stopped off to meet with Serge Gainsbourg, and landed somewhere in the Gothic soundfields of the 4AD record label. Each of their albums has received suitable praise and this album is no slacker. “Terrible Love” is the kind of late-night anthem that makes it hard to believe these guys exist in the present day and were once scheming on how to take over the world back in Ohio. The brilliant, heart-skipping pop of “Anyone’s Ghost” takes on the feeling of a Manchester rain where the icy core of isolation once explored by Joy Division is given a splash of color. “Lemonworld” dances to the end of love with a flashy nightclub backbeat that can’t hide the gray tones of the keyboards and the guitars that insist on their wallflower status. “Runaway” is arguably the sweetest tune here. Its gentle gait sounds like a come-on from a European coffee shop caught somewhere in time between the ‘60s and the new century, where music isn’t so much nostalgia but a means to create a better life for everyone involved.

Customer Reviews

I'm on a Bloodbuzz

The new National album is an absolutely incredible compilation of tracks that adapt to ones expectations of what the National is capable of producing yet offer many surprises at the same time. Barninger's vocals are such that even with his low monotone he is capable of establishing a commanding presence over every track. It is unfortunate we don't get a brief clip of him screaming like in songs "Avaliable" and "Abel", however the effect of his voice is so profound any extension of it is quite unecessary in increasing it's effect. Like many National albums, this one required many listens to fully establish any opinion really. The songs contain to much content individually to listen only once. The only song on the first listen I was completely in awe was "England", however now that i have listened to the album upward of 12 times I cannot simply choose one standout track. Most of the tracks express deep sorrow and rather darkening themes, however this album makes melanchony themes and melodies a welcome treat in any situation. Along with the Nationals tendency toward darker imagery, Baringer also remembers to include his trademark ridiculous lyrics. Once in a while you find yourself listening and think "did he just say what i think he did?" case and point, "Conversation 16". "I was afraid I'd eat your brains / cuz I'm eeeeevil". Classic.
Basically, the National is one of the most refreshing and original groups in the music industry. I highly recommend this album and any of their previous. This album only further expresses how amazing this band is and their unwillingness to stray from creating music that they think is relevant and worthy of their listeners. And if you dont enjoy this album, they will eat your brains, cuz their eeeeeevil!

Kind of disappointing

The National is one of my favourite bands, so maybe it was just my expectations for this album--after all, we've been absolutely spoiled with 'Alligator', 'Boxer' and 'The Virginia EP'--but this one just doesn't seem to hold up against the previously mentioned titles. To be sure, it is a great compilation compared to what else is being released these days, but it's just not an all around solid release; very inconsistent.

I'd say buy it if you're a die-hard fan [I mean, at least it's new music, right!?] but if you're just hearing about these guys, check out the albums mentioned above.

Shivers

The harmonies in High Violet are by far the best yet produced by The National. This album is unmistakably them, but with a new level of cohesive design for the project as a whole. Alligator was "Here's three things you might like", Boxer told a story of growing up and finding your place, and High Violet shows the band has hit their stride being comfortable with themselves.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although formed during the post-punk revival of the late '90s, the National took inspiration from a wider set of influences, including country-rock, Americana, indie rock, and Brit-pop. The lineup began taking shape in Ohio and officially cemented itself in New York, with baritone vocalist Matt Berninger joining forces with two sets of brothers — Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), and Aaron (guitar) and Bryce Dessner (guitar). After establishing themselves as a live act, the bandmates...
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