The National "Trouble Will Find Me" Reviewed
I have already professed my love and complete lack of objectivity for The National in this space, so don't expect much more than superlatives and praise for the band's sixth studio album in the forthcoming paragraphs.
Like all previous The National records, Trouble Will Find Me is underwhelming at first. They've mastered the art of the slow-burn (something each and every person who writes about the band is obligated to point out). When I first started listening to this album, I was actually a little depressed at how 'blah' it all seemed.
I should have known better.
As many reviews have already pointed out, Trouble Will Find Me feels like kind of like a "starter-kit" record. This is a cheap trick used by music critics when they don't want to put forth any effort into reviewing an established band's new record.
Instead of diving into an album, you write things like, "We've heard these natives of Cincinnati play songs like 'Demons' before."
And, "I can't be the only one who noticed the similarities in 'Don't Swallow the Cap' and 'Blank Slate.'"
Music critics seem to be perpetually shocked that bands who have put out a dozen or so LPs and EPs have songs that sound sonically similar.
It's tough to review this record for me, because I'm starting to see that my views on it will be exponentially different in the near future. I'm only 4-5 listens deep and so the genius of the Dessner brothers guitar work hasn't fully revealed itself, although Devendorfs' mastery of percussion is starting to break through. (Seriously, why don't people talk about the drumming of Bryan Devendorf more? I'm pretty sure he's the best part of the band.) On repeated listens, Matt Berninger start to move from a string of non-sequiturs to parts of my everyday lexicon and world view.
This is a The National record. You can't rush it. You just have to let it wash over you.