x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The National: Trouble Will Find Me

There's an elegance and quiet confidence about the album, its arrangements sophisticated, yet subtle.

The National: Trouble Will Find Me.
The National: Trouble Will Find Me.

The National
Trouble Will Find Me
(4AD)****

“Song sung blue / everybody knows one,” noted Neil Diamond, but this sixth album from Brooklyn’s The National confirms that literate melancholia is the band’s default setting. All credit to the frontman Matt Berninger, though: he remains an engaging old Eeyore, and a very different beast to the self-pitying lovelorn that critics traditionally lambast. There’s an elegance and quiet confidence about Trouble Will Find Me, its arrangements sophisticated, yet subtle. Songs such as I Should Live In Salt and Don’t Swallow the Cap have pleasingly durable melodies that take a few listens to bed-in, and even if the album’s fine wordplay occasionally baffles – “I was teething on roses / I was in guns and noses,” sings Berninger atop the Motorik groove of Humiliation – you have to admire its sustained war on cliché. The National recently earned their art-rock stripes by playing their song Sorrow at MoMA in New York City for six hours straight. A yawn-inducing experience for even the most ardent fan, surely, but Trouble Will Find Me, replete with the lurching piano standout Pink Rabbits, is a fine effort devoid of longueurs.

artslife@thenational.ae

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