The National – Trouble Will Find Me
There’s an alternate universe in which a band called The National have just released a new album called Trouble Will Never Find Me. It’s full of stadium-friendly guitar riffs and Olympic-sized drumming. At summer festivals in that alternate universe The National always get top billing and some otherwise very serious young men go totally nuts whenever they perform. In our universe, by contrast, The National have just released an album called Trouble Will Find Me. It’s a totally different world. Whereas you might expect the opening track, ‘I Should Live In Salt’, to be altogether anthemic, the pace is measured, the mood downbeat. This is a very deliberate statement. The National are saying that if they have to be likened to R.E.M., then they’re going to be the R.E.M. of Murmur not Out Of Time. For sure, ‘Sea Of Love’, ‘Humiliation’, and ‘Graceless’ up the pace, but there are precious few, if any, stadium-sized hooks and only ‘Pink Rabbits’ with its lovely piano-driven melody comes anywhere close to being jaunty. Refreshingly, this is a set of songs where you have to do the listening work. And, like pretty much every exercise of that sort, there are rewards. ‘Slipped’ could be just another doleful little song, but wait for the the chorus and it turns out to be quite delicate. ‘I Need My Girl’ keeps wanting to take off, but is kept nicely in check. With Trouble Will Find Me, The National have done little to dispel their largely self-inflicted tortured artist effect. As a consequence, up and down the land lots of very serious young men are listening to this album very carefully, dissecting the lyrics and waiting for that festival where The National are headlining and where they can go totally nuts for an hour or two at least. More power to them.