The National - High Violet

Album cover
Indie
4AD
The National
High Violet
The National - High Violet Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 5 (3 votes)

First impressions always deceive their beholder, don't they? For example, when The National first released Alligator, critics and casual listeners dismissed it as a one-dimensional, ambiguous release from a painstakingly average band. And on a cursory listen, it was. No one would blame someone for immediately dismissing songs like "Karen" for their seemingly shallow depth, but still no one would really deny that the album was a grower. Beneath The National's abstract ideas and innovative approach, there lay a sort of comfort that seemed to enrapture the listener over time. Soon opinions changed, and The National was accepted for their almost experimental nature. By the time that Boxer was released, people knew what to expect... nothing. By then, the band was a juggernaut, categorized somewhere between post-punk lounge and experimental indie. Surprisingly enough, this categorization made Boxer one of the most grandiose releases of 2007. The band's almost-minimalist nature meshed seemlessly with their relaxed atmospherics, creating a grandeur that transfers over to their latest album, High Violet.

High Violet is a record that shows The National's maturation, focusing more on the band's tranquil atmosphere than on typical indie aesthetic. However, the sound is still distinctly The National's, even though they're now fledged and more well-rounded. Luckily enough, the band's signature elements are still intact. Brian Devendorf makes use of frenetic drum work as much as before. Matt Berninger's vocals are still in his distinctive baritone, his lyrics still in the same style. Even the band's extensive use of the Pythagorean Philosophy is used to a full extent. On "Bloodbuzz Ohio," Devendorf opposes a rather relaxed and morose set of piano notes with his typical fervor. And of course, in a land where pretentious fly-by-night indie bands flock to tell you how you are inferior to them, The National are naked and honest. However, they do not rely on their endearing qualities alone. Don't forget that The National can still craft some damn good tracks.

"Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks"'s majestic ending impacts the album as much as the atmospheric melodies of "Conversation 16." Again, the drums remain the highlight, and the components are the opposite of neighboring forces. Ethereal guitars may dominate, but Devendorf's attitude behind the kit is unsurprisingly a delightful contrast. Other highlights include the piano on "England," the stuttering vocals on "Afraid of Everyone," and the atmospheric elements of High Violet's sound. Horns oftentimes work besides choirs and airy guitars, but never is The National's sound convoluted or overwhelming. Simply put, The National is on a hot streak, and you'd be a fool not to listen.

1. Terrible Love
2. Sorrow
3. Anyone's Ghost
4. Little Faith
5. Afraid of Everyone
6. Bloodbuzz Ohio
7. Lemonworld
8. Runaway
9. Conversation 16
10. England
11. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

The National is a Brooklyn-based alternative rock band formed in 1999, by friends from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band's lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger in a distinctive, deep baritone. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

... read more

Did You Know?

Batman
Batman says... "Modest Mouse has a song titled 'Bukowski' which is about anger at God."

Featured Album

Hawthorne Heights-Hate
Hate
Hawthorne Heights

Recent Interviews

ARIA
ARIA
Tue, September 06, 2011
A Common Year
A Common Year
Thu, September 01, 2011
Mayday Parade
Mayday Parade
Mon, August 22, 2011
Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Tue, August 09, 2011
Stray From the Path
Stray From the Path
Thu, August 04, 2011
The Summer Set
The Summer Set
Wed, July 27, 2011
Psychic Babble
Psychic Babble
Tue, June 28, 2011
Touche Amore
Touche Amore
Fri, June 24, 2011
August Burns Red
August Burns Red
Tue, June 21, 2011
Nocturnal Me
Nocturnal Me
Mon, June 13, 2011
Living With Lions
Living With Lions
Mon, June 13, 2011
Polar Bear Club
Polar Bear Club
Sun, June 12, 2011
The Swellers
The Swellers
Mon, May 23, 2011
Balance And Composure
Balance And Com ...
Sun, May 22, 2011
Protest The Hero
Protest The Hero
Fri, April 29, 2011
Dredg
Dredg
Wed, April 27, 2011
Otep
Otep
Sat, April 23, 2011
Fireworks
Fireworks
Tue, April 12, 2011
Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance
Sun, April 03, 2011
He Is We
He Is We
Sat, March 05, 2011

Powered by Drupal. Eco-friendly hosting provided by Site5 LLC.
All content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons License .