With their last release The National confirm themselves as the head of authorial indie rock in US. Sleep Well Beast, out for 4AD, is a new point of reference for the band from Cincinnati: it gives Matt Berninger’s voice the chance to express itself in all the sorrowful ranges, and offers to their fans the opportunity to listen to the typical dark songs from the band.
To be honest, in this album there is nothing new, yes the songs are intense and catching (the commercial success of the album in US is a proof), on the other hand there is not a particular jump in listening to them, just the well-being coming from a well known experience.
As usual, the most interesting songs are the ones in which the tempo is slow and the main “character” is Matt’s voice: episodes as “Nobody else Will Be there”, with a whispering voice and a delicate piano, or “Walk it Back”, based on a deep accent of synth touch, give the essence of a band that is still able to make people feel their melancholic mood. Other tracks, in which too elements are added, look like a stretch of their noble sound: “Turtleneck” is one of those songs.
After all, a pleasant experience with a couple of very good songs. A good album but nothing more.