For over two months I have sat dormant in the blogging universe (a self imposed exile). The reasons are not important, but I have gotten the itch to write again mainly because my wife has bohtered me to start again but also because I enjoy sharing music with others. So I will dive back in and see how long I can keep it up.
I would like to think that THE NATIONAL released a record partially to get me to start writing again. Long time favorites of Your Moment of Zen, the Ohio bred collective have released "High Violet" to quite the critical acclaim. This is in no way suprising since there last two records have also be highly lauded efforts. "High Violet" sounds fresh and yet comforting at the same time. There is something about Matt Berringer's bariotone voice that is so distinctive, like a well aged scotch or a fine cigar. It just has that smokey sound that gives the songs a different feel then the run of the mill indie rock out there today. But with the new record he does sing a few songs in a higher range that is new and yet does not sacrifice the overall sound.
Musically, the record is not a huge departure from the previous two efforts. Although there is nothing as gorgeous as "Fake Empire" from the last record, there are some memorable moments. "Terrible Love" opens the album with a slow building anthem that uses guitars to cascade over a pulsing stop start drum beat. "Sorrow" is a prototypical National song, full of somber lyrics, textured guitars and a steady bass line. "Afraid of Everyone" is an overtly political song that has a feel of earlier era U2. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" kicks off with a great drum break before settiling into a nice rhythmic track that will certainly sound better live. The highlight of the record for me has to "Lemonworld". Starting off with a simple guitar line and building on the drums and bass, Berringer recalls the tale of traveling through New York in a surreal dream post military life.
The National are poised for greatness with this record. It has enough mass appeal to be commercially viable and yet artistically challenging to satisfy their hardcore fan base.
The National--Bloodbuzz Ohio