Best of 2013: The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Fans of The National were anticipating sixth album Trouble Will Find Me with equal degrees of anticipation and fear. How on earth do you come back after the shivering perfection of High Violet? Importantly, they didn’t try to make the same album again, and someone got lighter and darker at the same time. First taster Demons wasn’t much to get excited about, and it’s an odd choice of lead single. It’s pleasant, but it meanders, and the middle eight moving into the minor resolve of the chorus is really the only moment that pricks up the ears. The rest of Trouble Will Find Me, however, is slow-burning magnificence. Graceless packs a punch, Don’t Swallow The Cap is burrowing unease, and Sea of Love’s ever-changing structure is both euphoric and troubling. I Need My Girl is The National at their most raw, a pleading refrain of ‘I need my girl’ set against a series of strange little vignettes (‘Remember when you lost your shit and drove your car into the garden? You got out and said you’re sorry to the vines and no one saw you’), and while it will doubtless be used to soundtrack break ups in dozens of heartfelt indie dramas, its no poorer a song for it. Pink Rabbits – like Sea of Love, it evolves into three songs over its four minutes – stands along with their finest work, with Matt Berringer at his lyrical best: ‘I was a television version of a person with a broken heart. And everybody was gone.’

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