Friday, December 03, 2010
Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2010: Number 40
Suddenly it feels as if The National are making the move from cult concern to crossover outsiders that REM did at a similar point in their discography. Obviously winning the Best Album Q Award - unmentioned in most papers' coverage of the event, funny that - means it's being done really quite quickly, but High Violet is unusual in that they've made the leap by tapping a vein of self-reflexive darkness. Matt Berninger chooses not to let go of his weighed down baritone this time around, matched by the band's ornately constructed towers of introspective sonics. Guitars are prone to shake or trip over themselves, songs are paced at fast walking speed and take their time to unfold into oppressive cathedrals, switching from implacable overpowerment of depressiveness to driving hope with little effort. Nervy, emotive and frayed at the edges by life and the grandiosity inherent in responsibility, they've found their range in a sort of parallel universe drivetime rock without losing custody of the soul of the American underground their sales now transcend.
The full list