The National ‘Trouble Will Find Me’
As I have mentioned before, I have been avoiding The National for ages. Mainly because I had this preconceived notion that only hipsters enjoyed their music.
After catching their film ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ (see my review here Hot Docs Film Festival: ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema) and an appearance on Jimmy Fallon late one night I realized I had been missing out.
Their latest, ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ (their 6th release) follows their last successful album ‘High Violet’ which was toured approximately 22 months in the last year. This album will truly move any emotional blockage you may feel in your heart and belly. I have been listening to “Trouble Will Find Me” easily every day back and forth on my trek to work. It’s been a great ally.
“Sea of Love” the first release of ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is dance worthy but has all the great elements of a pop song. This album does not begin and end with this song. In fact it just gets progressively better.
“Heavenfaced” is reminiscent of a Bruce Springsteen ballad. Lyrics like ‘Let’s go wait out in the fields with the ones we love’ are Wuthering Heights like with Matt’s voice swooning is eerily reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. Goosebumps as you dance into lyrics ‘She’s a griever, my believer, It’s not a fever, it’s a freezer, I believe her, I`m a griever now, She’s a griever, my believer’. This song will be sugar sweet live.
Throughout this album there are moments filled with stuttering rhythms and winding woodwind along with melodies and percussion that refuse to align.
One of my favourites on this album is “This Is The Last Time”. It is very Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire in tone. The melding of the lyrics and melodies and the injection of a female singer’s voice which concludes the song is reminiscent of Amy Milan from Stars. An aching beauty.
“Graceless” is another body shaker which is road worthy and perfect to play on a Saturday afternoon at home. Gentle but just enough oomph to sing along too.
“I Need My Girl” will make you reflect on perhaps the loneliness of road life for an artist, missing a loved one. The simplicity of Matt’s voice along with a soft guitar and the low beat of the drums will be a perfect way to reflect upon your week and leaning into any of your own lingering stuff.
There are some moments whilst listening to “Trouble Will Find Me” that you are waking up from a hazy night out on the town. There is blurriness and the scent of cigarettes and whisky on the breath while the sounds of this album swirls around you in its sentimentality and subtlety.
In these songs, as well as in “Heavenfaced”, Matt emerges from his self-described “comfort zone of chant-rock” and glides into a sonorous high register of unexpected gorgeousness. The results are simultaneously breakthrough and oddly familiar, the culmination of an artistic journey that has led The National both to a new crest and, somehow, back to their beginnings—when, says Aaron, “our ideas would immediately click with each other. It’s free-wheeling again. The songs on one level are our most complex, and on another they’re our most simple and human. It just feels like we’ve embraced the chemistry we have.”
The boys are touring this summer – it maybe worth checking them out. “Trouble Will Find Me” is a classic and a necessary new release to add to your summer listening schedule.