Monday, May 17, 2010
I am getting the sense from a lot of people I talk to, that High Violet is many people's first introduction to the National. It's probably going to be the album where their career really takes off over here. But it should be pointed out early and often that this album is not a patch on the two records that came immediately before it (although it is better than their first few). In fact, it's not even more commercial than their last, Boxer. So it's kind of strange that this is their biggest yet.
Don't get me wrong, High Violet is one of the better albums of 2010, it's just not the National's best. It's a great album full of wonderful, captivating tunes, not least album opener, the gritty 'Terrible Love'.
The National have long been a music first band, and thus the songs features big melodies and intense crescendos, which are then layered with Matt Beringer's enchanting lyrics. How can you argue with "We'll play nuns versus priests until somebody cries"?
There's plenty of highpoints to savour, particularly singles 'Anyone's Ghost' and 'Bloodbuzz Ohio', but for me, nothing tops the utterly compelling 'Little Faith'. The album is strong throughout, and closing tracks 'London' and 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' are both standouts. However, overall it's not as good as Boxer or Alligator. Maybe it lacks the immediacy of those two albums, but it's just not as good.
Fantastic, but not as good. That said, 'A Little Faith' ranks among the best songs they've recorded. Immense.