The National – Sleep Well Beast (2017, 4AD)
Four years since their last album release, indie-rock band The National is back with their seventh and most progressive album yet, Sleep Well Beast. While there are tinges of optimism weaved throughout much of the tracks, The National stays true to its signature gloomy vibe, due in part to lead singer Matt Berninger’s smooth, baritone voice. Aside from the group’s usual use of sleek guitar riffs and steady drum beats, Sleep Well Beast dabbles in electronic experimentation, adding to Berninger’s despairing lyrics of fear and anxiety. “I’ll Still Destroy You” explores much of this new electronic sound, while “Day I Die” displays the uncompromising nature of the band. The complexity and cutting honesty flowing from the LP creates a stone-cold yet soulful concoction of pleads and hopes for the future.
Trial Track: “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”