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Jon Isely

CD of The Week

Week of 9/18/17

    The National - Sleep Well Beast (4AD)

    One of the most interesting parts of reviewing albums is reading other reviews and seeing how other scribes' thoughts match with your own. To say I am intimate with the work of The National is an understatement. I take this music to heart, hang on every not they commit to tape. It's been four years since Trouble Will Find Me was released until the debut of their newest album Sleep Well Beast. The long wait has ended and what we have here is a tome that can be viewed in many different way with the same end feeling. That feeling is, "damn, this is a great record!"

    The touchstone of The National is the downbeat perceived darkness of their subject matter matched by razor-sharp instrumental passages. One thing that shows though on this record, and has been noted by many a critic, is the experimental textures throughout the album. Notes of Radiohead, Four Tet, and Sigur Ros' finest works peek into the songs met by Matt Berninger's deep introspection on family, death, and our modern political landscape. "Born to Beg," "Empire Line," and "I'll Still Destroy You" can walk you down this glitchy path.

    Another way of looking at the record is the most classically sounding songs that could fit into any of The National's LPs. "Guilty Party" could have been on Boxer, "Turtleneck" could have been a double A-side
    for "Mr. November."

    All this brings out the cornerstone of a review I read comparing The National to their one time tour-mates R.E.M. The author said Sleep Well Beast shows the consistency of Automatic for The People meeting the
    experimentation that frames the brilliance of Monster. With every spin of Sleep Well Beast, all I can say is "AMEN!"

    The National return to Philadelphia for a very sold out show at The Kimmel Center on December 4th.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive Sleep Well Beast on CD. Click here for details.
    Review by Jersey Dan

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