I spend quite some time watching house-related shows – this is probably lame, I know, but – there’s nothing more empowering than seeing your idea finished and built with every detail tailored to your vision. So when The National refurbished a dilapidated garage on a fellow band-mate’s property into a studio, they also invested in themselves with an accessible outlet for the band to explore, re-work and finalise their sound.
Photo: Zoran Orlic
It shows immediately in the opener “Terrible Love”, which expresses a raw aesthetic in its lo-fi quality but this isn’t for long. In fact, by the following track The National are back to their polished state. “Afriad of Everyone”, “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and “Anyone’s Ghost” are the catchy highlights on High Violet despite the overriding bleak themes ever present in this release – one hopes that this is as bleak as The National can go.
I have to admit it took a while for High Violet to grow on me since it doesn’t exactly embody the bold character of their 2007 realease, Boxer. And fair enough, High Violet is a new leaf for The National but Boxer just set such a high precedent for them that High Violet kind of falls short.
[MP3] The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
High Violet is out May 10 through 4AD/Remote Control.