For the greater part of a decade, and for die-hards much longer, The National has immensely impressed with album after album of ridiculously comforting highs and words that best some of the current great authors’ purposes. The band’s music has always prevailed on what many would claim to be simple measures of technique but what the real lovers call, downright magic. Their albums are not meant for immediacy and are certainly not meant to be easily digested and while this doesn’t mean ‘work’ needs to be put in, patience is certainly warranted. Their newest effort, Trouble Will Find Me, relocates the attention again on singer Matt Berninger and Co.’s undeniable skill. And with what is easily another unquestionable triumph, it’s definitely and remarkably one of the finest 2013 will produce.
On “Graceless” the story finds a faithless and tasteless narrator that realizes while the beauty surrounds him, his true Grace comes in the form of a lover. The beauty of The National was always their manipulation and execution of imagery and here, the words of flowers dying inside of a vase and noticing that life is happening and equally, dying, through the glass depicts what life truly is. And with this view point on life, the band decorates the songs with an even-keel demeanor – never unassuming and always at the forefront – Berninger’s voice is key to their success. The National have never been about sugar-coating it and while the narrator isn’t his rosy self anymore, there is a definite reality to it all and Trouble Will Find Me places the importance on realism, like all the band’s previous efforts. It happens again on the blistering, beautiful “Sea of Love,” where this time the narrator is found trying to console perhaps a friend, or lover, before recognizing that if he succumbs to that same cycle, well, trouble will find him. Showcasing more of the tenaciously exact drumming and collapsing the voices in and around the narrator, the music is utterly captivating. The album title shines on this song about the sea and how everyone is just sliding deeper and deeper into the abyss; the kind of sea that is both mesmerizing and suffocating at the same time.