The National, Frightened Rabbit

When: Wed., Sept. 11 2013

THE NATIONAL Lush textures (mostly), deliberate tempos and rueful lyrics delivered in baritone shades by Matt Berninger make the National’s music ideal for atmospheric late-night listening. The band vaguely resembles forebears like Tindersticks, Nick Cave in balladeer mode and post-’60s Leonard Cohen — artists the National often gets compared to. Though built on first-person confessionals and meticulously arranged, the National’s songs aren’t as revealing (or weird) as Tindersticks’. It also lacks the intensity of Cave’s darkest fare and isn’t as poetic as Cohen’s. A better comparison, especially for Berninger’s lyrics, might be a less arch and less sexually ambiguous Smiths. “I’m having trouble inside my skin,” Berninger sings on “Slipped,” a common refrain from the latest LP, Trouble Will Find Me. As that title (not to mention 2003’s Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers) suggests, National songs embrace regret as a means of redemption. Its elegant arrangements and tempos imply there’s majesty in perseverance — you just have to get through the crucible of remembrance first.

John Schacht

Price: $45

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