Every once in a while the hype machine does get it right. New York by way of Ohio band, The National have put forth a monumental accomplishment with their fourth album, Boxer. I had been a fan of the band’s earlier releases but Boxer sees the band performing at a higher, more consistent level. There is something so refreshingly simple and earnest about The National. Yet, the band proves they are much more than the sum of their parts on Boxer.
Perhaps the most modern comparison to The National is Interpol. However, The National have a softer, more subtle brilliance to their sound. Everything the group does seems so loose and flowing…almost improvisational. Yet, the pieces fit so perfectly together. You realize the band knows exactly what they are doing with every single step they take. The intelligent stream of conscious lyrical style of Matt Berninger as well as his deep dark vocals are essential in the band’s unique, longing sound. Along with Berninger’s descriptive story telling are the instrumental twists and turns. Boxer is blessed with a lavish instrumental richness the likes rarely seen. Horns, piano and string arrangements create such beautiful textures to go alongside the band’s songs. The scope and depth at which The National deliver their material is simply amazing.
Boxer is an album in the truest sense as it slowly reveals itself with each new listen. Each song stands completely on its own yet these 12 songs collectively make up something exponentially more. The National have catapulted themselves into elite territory with Boxer. Thinking about the band’s next steps is almost as exciting as listening to this incredible album. Boxer might not be the easiest album to delve into but once you let it in, the results are nothing short of breathtaking.
RIYL: Joy Division, Interpol, Leonard Cohen
Listen: The National – Fake Empire (mp3)