The National: High Violet (4AD) 

Success and fatherhood have done nothing to ease Matt Berninger's fears about finding his way. But by continuing to explore those fears with an ever-greater artistic command, Berninger and The National have reached new heights, with an intense and radiant fifth album.

High Violet is a sort of distilled passion, burning with intimacy and vivid in its celebration of both disorientation and comfort. It's the sound of a band at its peak, tight and confident as they deliver a masterpiece.

Berninger again plays the philosopher-as-everyman, harshly honest with a deep, brooding baritone that owns every pang of sorrow, loneliness and doubt that blanket the band's new record.

The National has clearly settled into a sound all its own, dark and deep, but richly textured with the right flourishes at the right time, and shifts that give the songs new energy. That High Violet is executed with an even more cinematic elegance than the band's highly acclaimed Boxer and Alligator albums is a stunning feat.

Lyrically, Berninger seems to turn around with a new question for each answer he's found. At times, it sounds like the nearly crippling doubt of a man uncertain in his own hopes, even before they're spoken aloud.

High Violet is an album that explores the frayed and ever-shifting edges of identity. It conveys that constant sense of coming undone in the midst of the hectic world—and those moments of clarity when it suddenly becomes easy to lift yourself above it all. It's a step-by-step dance between anxiety and catharsis.

More by Eric Swedlund

  • This Ain’t Basketball

    Diverse Tucson quintet unleashes its fifth LP
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Matt and Kim headline new Dusk Music Festival bringing other national and local acts together
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • The Madcap Laughs

    Why onetime Tucsonan Robyn Hitchcock is a two and a half trick pony
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Get Your Spooks On for a Halloweekend at Hotel Congress

In the Flesh: Howe Gelb's 60th B-day Bash at the Rialto Theater

Song of the Day: 'Cosmic Love Song No. 23' by Louise Le Hir

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation