4AD – May 17th

There’s a slow-burning, blue-flame energy to The National. Combining the best bits of Smiths-y melancholia, traditional dad rock, alt-rock cynicism, and straight-up art. Their success was both surprising and inevitable.

Their eighth album comfortably meets and exceeds the breadth of their past decade’s aural sublimity. Tracks such as ‘The Pull Of You’ and ‘So Far So Fast’ are utterly breathtaking journeys, as Berninger’s characteristically soothing baritone retreats slightly into the mix, complimenting the addition of prominent guest vocalists and choral arrangements.

This sixty-minute sensation is further indebted to the Dessner and Devendorf brothers’ calm handling of strings and percussion, which reframe past sorrows in a strange new light.

Head to any record retailer, and their discography now dryly beckons: I Am Easy To Find.

Photo by Graham Macindoe.

Buy: The National – I Am Easy To Find

Live: British Summer Time on July 13th