The National/High Violet

High VioletThe National are a Brooklyn-based indie rock band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1999. The band’s lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger in a distinctive baritone. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Scott and Bryan Devendorf. Aaron plays guitar, bass and piano, Bryce plays guitar, Scott plays bass and guitar, and Bryan is the drummer. Padma Newsome, from sister band Clogs, often contributes strings, keyboards, and other arrangements and instrumental flourishes. The band’s influences range from Bruce Springsteen to Joy Division. [Wikipedia]

Terrible Love—-With a nice fuzzy intro and the entrance of a lonely vocal, I am immediately assured that this CD will be right up my alley. The instrumentation is sedate and desolate….the words are already clinging to my heart with the grand sweeping sounds of the vocal. This is real and sharp….the delivery is brilliant. I really like this!!

Sorrow—-Wow….this vocal really reminds me of the guy from The Church…the music that accompanies the song is just as brilliant. This is deep in sound, bass driven and loaded with all kinds of lyrical emotions. This is pretty intense for such a sunny afternoon, but if you pull the curtains, you can easily sink into the mood of the song…remarkable.

Anyone’s Heart—-With a bit more uptempo intro, the vocal seems a little clearer and not as deep…giving the song a very nice Alt Rock feel that will crossover very nicely. the backdrop featuring the female vocal really adds a warmth to the song that sometimes swallows up the sterile sound of the band. This is the best thing I have heard since my obsession with frightened Rabitt began. Brilliant!

Little Faith—-Beginning a bit noisy, the song quickly dissolves into a soft, wonderful blend of Alt. Rock that makes you warm all over and delivers a decent dose of loneliness at the same time. This is remarkably beautiful with vivid lyrics, an emotional and real vocal delivery all set to a very comfortable instrumentation that never even comes close to being in the front of the mix….very nice.

Afraid Of Anyone—-Sedate and quiet enough to enjoy with you Morning coffee, the song still reminds me of The Church in the earliest days of the band. This is remarkable…the music seems almost orchestrated and the normal comfortable baritone is at times replaced by a higher vocal that fits the mood and pace of the song perfectly. This is literally wonderful…the words tear your heart out…you realize…this guy is singing about my life…how can this be possible?

Bloodbuzz, Ohio—-The first ‘single’ from this release….let me re phrase that…the first leaked song from this release finds the band beginning in a much lighter tone as the drums lead off the track and make you question if you are listening to the same band. Once the jangly guitar and the wonderful baritone enters the song, you are assured that this is indeed your band. The song is magnificent…I wish I could play this at high volume from my rooftop assuring that the entire world would experience the joy and beauty of this band. This is incredible!!!

Lemonworld—-Beginning with nice deep tones and a monstrous drum sound, the baritone is in full effect as the song begins. The ability of the incredible narrative to transport a listener is magnificent…you can never get enough of this kind of magic…I have not had much experience with this band, but feel as if I might really need to scour the racks and find the first 4 releases from this band…this is impactful.

Runaway—-A great story song much in the vein of Springsteen, the song is full of lush piano sounds and minimal instruments…allowing the voice to tell the story without much else. The song has a nice ambient tone that only adds to the serious and somber lyrics…this is wonderful…Love This Band!!!

Conversation 16—-Moving up on the emotional scale a bit, the song is led by the very British jangly guitar that keeps the song at a nice pace and keeps things from becoming to ultra serious. This is remarkable…the drumms are crisp and clean…the guitars rock like a classic 80’s Brit-pop sound that I never tire of hearing and the vocal is a throwback to The Church that really makes me miss that particular band. Really nice!

England—-Although the music is very sedate and the lyrics are rather laden with un healthy emotions, I am left with a rather comfortable feeling as I listen to this song…seemingly finding another person who is and or has experienced some of the feelings about life and love and hardship as I have…that is the beauty of music…you can find in it what you wish. This could have very well been an ode from Morrissey to England….remarkable music!!!

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks—-Closing out this release with a song as masterful as the opening, the band is stripped down with wonderful strings and fantastic piano…the voice is in a higher register that sounds so good. This is full of atmosphere and mood…you just manage to fall in love all over again before the song is over and you feel an incredible need to start the process all over again. Incredible.

****3/4 out of 5


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