Reviews in 200 Words

The National, High Violet

In Album on June 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

There’s a kid walking around the backyard lighting firecrackers with a plastic Bic. He’s tossing them in the air, laughing when they pop. Across the fence the neighbor’s watching, waiting for the one that finally goes off in that little hand. It’ll happen, he thinks cracking open another beer.

High Violet won’t be mistaken for anything but a National album. Springs are coiled, two-liters are shaken. Fists are clenched all around this album and release is fleeting.

The National’s still concerned with starched shirts and kids on shoulders. After the last four albums it seemed impossible, but more than ever the band is bottled up, ready to burst. You’re lucky to catch half of Matt Berninger’s lines – pretty sure it all has something to do with missing a chance, wasting too much time.

And then a line sings through as loud as a firework going off in your hand. You’re just a little kid – you realize that clearly now as the words singe the hairs on your wrist. But you can’t let go of the bottle rocket. The drums keep pattering, the guitars keep churning. Relentless, ready to be reckoned with. Again and again and again.

-Jay Cullis


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