What’s that? Another review of High Violet?  This review is sure to get lost to page ten in the long list of Hype Machine bloggers covering the National’s new release, but we press on anyways.  I’ve been a fan of the National dating back to their 2005 album Alligator.  I marked their last album Boxer atop my 2007 Best Albums of The Year list. They are back in 2010, at the complete top of their game.  This album achieves perfection, without ever reeking of over-perfection.  I’m convinced The National are destined for major success.  Unfortunately when my favorite artists finally hit the mainstream it’s often bittersweet for me.  While I’m happy they are finally achieving critical acclaim and success in their craft for their labor of love, it often also means they get major label pressure to make more radio friendly tunes.  I suspect The National may be an exception to the rule. They seem to have been able to finely hone their sound without ever becoming offensively polished.

If you are new to Brooklyn-based the National, their sound is pleasantly lush, layered, diverse instruments, and a baritone vocal delivery by Matt Berninger that starts somewhere along the lines of a subtle Ian Curtis, but often ends with an emotional peak.  It’s easy to get lost in High Violet, but never to stop paying attention.  I sometimes appreciate a great sounding album that I can put on in the background and get some work done.  High Violet is not one of these albums.  While it may be very pleasing to the ears, it commands attention every step of the way.  Often times I find albums that I would classify on the quiet side start to lose my interest towards the tail end.  Quite the opposite with High Violet, to me the songs get stronger and stronger as the track count starts to head towards the teens.  Lyricism has always been one of Berninger’s strong suits, and now they have achieved the perfect level of instrumentation and production value to accompany.

For now, you can download High Violet for only 6 bucks at amazon.com, I’d highly recommend this and it is a strong early contender for my favorite album of 2010.

The National – England

The National – Conversation 16

Download High Violet here

The National on the web