sleep well beast

Edmonton Sun - - SHOWBIZ -

the world’s best rock bands are built on unique blends of tal­ent and sound that set them apart from all of the oth­ers who strap on gui­tars and blis­ter fin­gers in base­ments. and few bands have soared higher or set them­selves apart more dis­tinc­tively than the na­tional, which ex­ploded out of Cincinnati nearly two decades ago.

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 for­wardlean­ing foun­da­tion for the band’s pol­ished gui­tarkey­board 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. this hap­pens on the mel­low opener, No­body Else Will Be There, and on the rol­lick­ing sin­gle, The Sys­tem Only Dreams in To­tal Dark­ness.

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.

time will tell if the na­tional be­longs among rock’s leg­ends. Some bands with this much at­ti­tude lose lus­tre when the charm wears off. but there’ll be time to sort that out — and the true be­liev­ers won’t be dis­ap­pointed in the mean­time.

The Na­tional (4ad)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.