Follow by Email

Friday, June 01, 2018

Sleep Well Beast

The Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Album went to The National for their disc Sleep Well Beast. I had heard of the band, but knew nothing of their sound. When I first listened to it I didn't think much of it, but after several more spins I started to appreciate the edge to the music and the musicianship.

The National have been around a long time--their first album was in 2001. They only scratched through to my consciousness in the last year or so. They are from Cincinnati and I think the closes approximation to their sound is Arcade Fire, especially on my favorite song on the album, "Day I Die." The guitar work and the emotion in the voice of vocalist Matt Berninger. It appears to be about a girl:

"I don't need you, I don't need you
Besides I barely ever see you anymore
And when I do it feels you're only halfway there Young mothers love me even ghosts of
Girlfriends call from Cleveland
They will meet me anytime and anywhere"

Another straight ahead rocker is "Turtleneck," as well as "I'll Still Destroy You," which features some great drumming by Bryan Devendorf. In one of my alternate lives I'm a rock drummer, even though in real life I don't know the first thing about it and don't have a good sense of rhythm.

Other songs are a bit slower, such as "Carin at the Liquor Store," which is kind like a short story (Carin Besser is one of the songwriters):

"I was a worm,
I was a creature
I get on the ground the second
I'd see you
You cannot command your love
I wasn't a catch, I wasn't a keeper
I was walking around like I was the one who found dead John Cheever
Hand in glove"

Overall, the band has a dark, moody sound--this isn't rainbows and lollipops. They even title one of their songs "The Dark Side of the Gym"

"I have dreams of anonymous castrati
Singing to us from the trees
I have dreams of a first man and a first lady
Singing to us from the sea"

As I  continue my search for good rock bands in the age of rock being a minor genre, I'm glad to have found another band I like.

No comments:

Post a Comment