10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Get the headphones on!,
This review is from: High Violet (Audio CD)
I first came across the National when somebody recommended Alligator to me. Got the album and didnt stop playing it for months, it's just one of those albums that you never seem to tire of hearing. Then, when Boxer came out in 2007, and on the back of the brilliant lead single Mistaken for Strangers, i with eager anticipation slipped the disc into the cd player in my car, waited for the fireworks to start, and..... nothing. What a disappointment. Coupled with a poor release from Interpol that summer it represented the nadir of that year musically. Then a strange thing happened, about 3 months later i was sitting in my home "office" late one night with a glass of single malt whisky, looking for an album to put on, and decided i owed Boxer the benefit of the doubt. Out came the headphones and on went the CD. This became a feature of Autumn 2007, me sitting late at night with the "cans" on, drink in hand, marvelling at the revelation of one great song after another- notably Fake Empire, Brainy, Slow Show, Guest Room and Start a War. It's a wonderful album (though not without flaw)but it just doesn't suit (IMO) being played as background music or in the car, it's an intense, brooding collection of songs that demands your full attention.
And so to High Violet. Naturally, having received the album i played it in the car out of curiosity but it just took me back to the above occassion 3 years ago. Only difference was this time i didnt panic, i just waited for darkness, crept upstairs cd in hand (sadly no whisky)and put it on.First impressions were that Peter Katis'(a very underrated producer in my opinion)reduced involvement in production duties was noticeable, particularly on Terrible Love, but that all the ingredients are there as with Boxer of an album that will be regularly listened to for months and years to come. Standout tracks for me; Sorrow, Anyone's Ghost, and Conversation 16 (if you thought Brainy was a little creepy, wait for the "i was afraid i'd eat your brains" refrain- no ordinary break-up song). But generally strong all the way through. I give it 4 stars rather than 5 at this point (2 full listens) because to do so would be more a review of Boxer and Alligator than on its own merits, but i think with enough late nights and whisky it has got the "minerals" to get that fifth star. So buy it, and get your headphones on..
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 May 2010 00:17:17 BDT
GM Jones says:
Great review! You're so right, this is not an album for listening to in the car, you miss all those lovely low-key musical details.
And whiskey is the best drink to have to hand when listening to The National, 'cos they sound just like it tastes!
Posted on 23 Sep 2010 20:28:30 BDT
A great review indeed. I like you :)
Posted on 25 Feb 2011 15:16:53 GMT
Your review hits the spot for me too; it's atmospheric, rather than technical. I'd have to go for red wine with the National, especially with Slow Show and Conversation 16 ... and yes, it's music to be alone with.
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