Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The National - "High Violet" Vinyl LP

The National - "High Violet" Vinyl LP (2x 18o Gram Vinyl)
Producer - The National
Original Release - 2o1o

This is a front runner for album of the year, right out of the gate. May 2o1o has been more than generous to music lovers, and we are only 1/2 through the month. With "High Violet", The National return with their 5th set of songs: its arguably their best.

The National is a band you won't quite be able to explain, is it the powerful yet delicate baritone of Matt Berninger? The blistering chorus or guitars? Or even the lyrics, which manage to be sad, hopeful, funny and horrifying all at once? Its ultimately up to the listener to decide, but if you find yourself with a (hopefully legally acquired) copy of this album, know you are ahead of the curve.

The National have released some incredible albums. "Alligator", "Boxer", and now "High Violet" complete a (unofficial) trilogy of (almost) flawless music making. Its a mixture of Johnny Cash and Arcade Fire that will leave your ears buzzing, and hanging on ever phrase presented to you. It is a trilogy that can be appreciated on many different levels, all at one time. "High Violet" touches on many themes, many of these themes we can all relate to, and there are some we cannot. There are lovers, bars, imagery that will blow your mind ("Bloodbuzz Ohio"), and yes there are zombies.

"Its a terrible love, and I'm walking with spiders" opens "Terrible Love", probably the best track one side one of The National's catalogue. You know when you hear those words sung with that voice, you are about to embark on a journey. Don't worry, Mr. Berninger will happily take you on a guided tour of his fears, regrets, and moments of triumph. Its a journey worth taking.

This record is what Stark The Vinyl Shark likes to call a slow burner. Case in point: "Sorrow", "Lemonworld", and "England". The National will never take you by the neck and shake you, but if you listen closely, the songs begin to build like a fire and before you know it the thought of leaving your single life for one dedicated to small people who wholly depend on you sounds like the most horrific yet satisfying transition life has to offer.

The shining moment "High Violet" has to offer comes on side B with "Bloodbuzz Ohio", which is probably my favorite song not only off the album but of The National's entire library. Take a listen and prepare to be taken away, and epic track that proves The National is one of the best bands in America today.

Here we have the first clear cut front runner for album of the year 2o1o, though its only May, there have been many strong releases, I can't wait to hear what the rest of the year has in store. This double LP is housed in an amazing heavy duty gatefold, its pressed on black 18o gram vinyl, and the sound is terrific. It also comes with the download codes for the entire album.

Album - A-

Vinyl - A-

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