Thursday, June 28, 2007

The National - Boxer

The National
(2007, Beggars Banquet)

A lot of people call The National’s albums “growers,” but I think that is a bit misleading. The truth about The National is that the first time you listen to them the songs come off as deep as the fifth time you listen to similar artists (Arcade Fire, I’m looking at you). The National are that good. And from your first listen forward they only get better and better. It is really hard to identify what makes the seemingly standard indie rock The National produce heads and shoulders above their contemporaries. On my first time through Boxer I thought I had it; The National’s drummer, Bryan Devendorf, is definitely the most inventive, technically proficient drummer on the indie rock market. On the second listen I was corrected, the subtle dual guitar interplay and piano on Boxer was the culprit for success. The third listen marked another change, identifying Matt Berniger’s syrupy relaxed vocals as the winning factor. After about 5 or so changes of opinion, I was back to step one – the drumming. I could cycle through each members talent endlessly. Truth is everything here is perfect. There is no unnecessary note. Every member hits their mark flawlessly. The album is baked in a slow-burning perfection that I have rarely heard throughout a full album. Further more, The National share a descriptive title usually reserved by legends like David Bowie and Tom Waits: class. There is a certain level of undaunted, confident-but-not-cocky class that pervades the album. The only reason I have hesitantly given the album a nine is that by some unimaginable course, 2005’s Alligator was even better. Boxer still has room to grow though. Let’s just say – ‘at least a 9.0.’

-Mr. Thistle

1 comment:

Sassy Grass said...

on first listen I thought I was listening to the newly formed Crash Test Dummies, now on about listen 12 I am obsessed- it's a grower in my opinion
-Sassy Grass