[New Release] THE NATIONAL
With “Sleep Well Beast,’’ the band’s seventh studio album and first in four years, The National revives the distinctive vibe that led it to the forefront of 21st century arena rock bands. Familiar or not, these guys are good at what they do.
Pulsating bass and drums set a forward-leaning foundation for the band’s polished guitar-keyboard mix. Together they convey urgency, transporting listeners through mostly dark lyrics past a sonic backdrop that offers hope mainly because it’s on its way somewhere.
What takes the band higher, ultimately, is Matt Berninger’s charisma. Not since Bryan Ferry’s heyday has a singer seemed to have stepped so vividly from the pages of a Raymond Chandler story.
The heartache is palpable. So is the tragic hero’s cool remove. AP