Sleep No More…
It’s truly satisfying when you get to witness and enjoy the consistent progression of a band as they become the masters of their respective form. A band with each successive record they add to their canon, they simply get better. Not only do they get better, they do so by adding to the sound with nary a misstep to be heard. One such band is The National. This Cincinnati quintet has done the damn near impossible. They’ve made guitar rock remotely interesting in 2017. When you think of the fact that lightweights such as the Foo Fighters and the Fillers..I mean, Killers are dropping records that will sell plenty and make an impact on nobody, it’s refreshing to have a band like The National put out quality on record. Dating back to their eponymous 2001 debut, their brand of bar-drenched college rock always seemed to defy simple definition and description. You simply couldn’t call them an indie rock band as doing so would be completely overlooking the elements that set them apart from their inferior contemporaries.
Sleep Well Beast is the band’s seventh record and while 2010’s High Violet may have been their coming-out party, this…this is truly the band’s masterpiece. I’ve often told anyone who would listen that Matt Berninger is quite possibly the finest songwriter going at the moment and just may be America’s counterpart to Nick Cave in terms of effortlessly writing alcohol-tinged confessionals that can be poignant, witty and even matter of fact with a delivery that sets you at ease. It’s as if you and he are sitting at the end of a bad near closing time drowning sorrows and assuring each other that while life sucks, it will get better the minute you walk out that door.
Plain and simple, The National are the best band America has produced in the last few years and with Sleep Well Beast, they’ve proven that they’ve not only got the goods but they are well on their way to becoming legends of their time. Thank goodness for that.