TRACK LIFE: The National – “Demons”
Welcome to Track Life, a daily column in which Jacob Knight shares what he thinks to be the best in music, both new and old.
While the National’s sound has always stayed the same (full-throated “dad rock” that is elevated by Matt Berninger’s cryptic, opaque lyrical content), with each album they add just another bit of operatic production to keep their mopey yet accessible tracks feeling just this side of Top 40 material. Their last record, 2010’s High Violet, was a high water mark for the band in this regard, as songs like “Terrible Love” and “England” found them breaking away from Leonard Cohen inspired sketches of masculine melancholy into full-blown stadium rock.
Trouble Will Find Me, their sixth album, is due May 21 (via 4AD), and from the sounds of “Demons”, it may more than likely be a simple extension of High Violet’s grandiose ambitions. Clocking in at 3:32, it’s the most radio ready single of The National’s career, navigating a basic time signature while twin guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner trade effects laden guitar licks. At around the two minute mark, the song ditches its ambling rhythm and aims for the rafters, as Berninger lets his voice glide up a few octaves. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before from The National’s tried and true formula, but that doesn’t make it any less affecting.