The National – Trouble Will Find Me | DOA

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

The National - Trouble Will Find Me

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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.

Unlike “Terrible Love” where everything was a cloudy misery and walking with spiders felt like a million little legs crawling all over, the album opener here, “I Should Live in Salt,” is a solemn reflection of regret. With every new album the band continues to mystify with their amazing presence and spirit and it’s no different with Trouble Will Find Me. A repetitive verse that reads more like poetry than lyrics, the narrator is disappointed by a lover that got away and how petty arguments always were the distraction. The music is pensive with a chorus that features choir-like backgrounds and a bass line that permeates throughout. And the whole time, you’re left with this vision of the narrator, alone, with nothing but the lost memories of what could have been. And like beautiful The National fashion, each ensuing song is a vivid recounting about some kind of love that might have been and the lesson learned. Even on “Fireproof” where the narrator is both amazed at her sheer resentment and equally burning feelings, he realizes that there is more than just his freezing hands to get over.The album unfolds, much like the story it is retelling, and the subjects at the end find the band shifting into a more hopeful approach. That isn’t to say the music is immediately negative but when you’ve gone through all the cycles on the first half, “Humiliation” finds another moment of reflection but this time of over-acting. The music is once again powered by the drums in the background and light guitar touches and Berninger’s majestic voice takes over. Make no qualms about it, there is absolutely nothing breakthrough about Trouble Will Find Me; there will be no moment where the clarity of a synthesizer, or perhaps a new jazz style, or even a massive horn section can come rousing in. But we should be directly clear in acknowledging that The National are such a powerfully gifted band, they need no theatrics to deliver an absolutely stone-cold beast of an album. With the music that is on here there is yet another thirteen songs to savor and salivate over until the next batch of songs comes about. And much like has been done before and will continue forever, much more analysis about what it could all mean. The National make music that continues to cast a beautiful light on the struggle we call life, we’re only just so fortunate to be able to enjoy it through their righteous vision.