The National make tunes for the sort of broken-heart bar stool brooding I did plenty of in my early twenties. It’s dark and cryptic, but somehow comes full circle towards the tunnel that may or may not shine a proverbial light. To see them live is to appreciate a consummately professional band of gentleman content to make music that speaks for them and them alone. You won’t catch too many jingle-worthy hooks, and that’s quite alright. Let Apple rape the vaults of lesser mates, because The National are something special.
Trouble Will Find Me is their latest offering and truth be told, for a few days I stayed away. I was interested in what they had to say, but more importantly, I was weary to join a voyage into newer, cheerier lands. Bands are quicker to make hits these days, and that’s OK. We all gotta eat. But the thought of The National writing the next pop smash makes me cringe. Thankfully, Trouble is true to form. The baritone is broken up from time to time with some softer sounds, but the mood is in tact. The pace quickens and pulls the trigger on their version of Tim Kasher’s raging folk, but at every turn you find the moody haunts of Joy Division blended with the niche they’ve created all to themselves.
I still think The National is a million miles away from their masterpiece, but Trouble Will Find Me is a gorgeous celebration from a band that is growing more tried and talented with every passing tour date.
The little man steals the show.