Trouble Will Find Me
This week sees the release of Trouble Will Find Me, the sixth album from Brooklyn-based indie rock band, The National.
While the band have been releasing albums since 2001, the momentum they have built has been steady rather than overwhelming, leading up to the release of critically acclaimed album High Violet in 2010.
Those familiar with the band won’t be surprised to find Trouble holds more of their trademark darkness. Lead singer Matt Berninger’s lyrics have always haunted the nether regions of the soul, so in this respect Trouble is consistent. Berninger uses is lazy baritone to sing about tortures – failed relationships, self-doubt, the desire for escape-that dog us all (although we might not talk about them, let alone sing). This vibe pervades the entire album from the self-flagellation of ‘I Should Live in Salt’ to the lingering regret of ‘Hard to Find’; it captures the instability and impermanence of life and if anything is comforting more than disturbing.
So be brave; enter. Trouble has been hailed as confident and self-assured despite the permeating self-doubt to which Berninger lends poetry and consequent beauty. Despair has never sounded so appealing or energetic; tracks ‘Graceless’ , ‘Don’t Swallow the Cap’ and ‘This is the Last Time’ literally pulse with life. Each track is built on that strong drum backbone featured on Boxer’s ‘Squalor Victoria’ and High Violet’s ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’.
Of course, they do mournful too, but it is rarely downbeat. ‘Pink Rabbits’ and single release ‘Demons’ both feature the arrangements of piano, wind and strings as found on ‘Fake Empire’, ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ and earlier ‘Cardinal Song’ that have always set The National apart.
Like the mindset, some of this album sounds fractured and deconstructed. However, Trouble appears to demonstrate a point of maturation. Instead of yet another new departure, as has been evident on each previous albums, the band seem to have settled into their skin, combining their standout styles from previous work and making no apology for the depths of their lyrics, to captivating effect.