The National, probably the most aesthetically classy act in rock, are back with Sleep Well Beast. I don’t know what album number this is for them, but I have always generally enjoyed their music, if for nothing more than to unwind to, and Trouble Will Find Me was one of my favorite albums of 2013 so I had generally high expectations.
“The poor, they leave their cellphones in the bathrooms of the rich
And when they try to turn them off everything they switch to
Is just another man, in shitty suits, everybody’s cheering for
This must be the genius we’ve been waiting years for, oh no”
I haven’t heard all of their past work but from what I have heard, Sleep Well Beast is definitely their most aggressive (in their terms) sounding stuff yet. They’re no Metallica or anything but they’ve definitely loosened the ties up a bit with songs like “Turtleneck” and “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” that reach hushed scream levels. For a group that I largely consider sophisticated ballroom rock, this more aggressive stance looks and sounds really good on them. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that Sleep Well Beast may have just supplanted Trouble Will Find Me as my favorite The National album to date. They still have that controlled, intimate aura about them but they’ve let their rougher edges shine through a bit and it’s paid off in some fantastic new music and a fresh take on the band.
Have you heard Sleep Well Beast? What’d you think about it? Did you like the more aggressive (in their terms) approach to this album? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.
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