The National: “Laugh Track” – everything even more intense (review & stream)

Surprise: The National have released a new album. “Laugh Track” contains songs that were written at the same time as “First Two Pages Of Frankenstein,” which was released in April 2023. That album marked a new beginning – the future of The National had been uncertain for a while given, among other things, Matt Berninger’s mental health problems.

While Berninger’s texts there were an inventory of loss, on “Laugh Track” they document a cautious opening. It’s about closeness, for example to his band. “I’ve gone off the deep end,” he sings in the euphoric “Deep End,” “The ringing in my ears sounds like singing / It’s the only thing I hear / I just cling to it / I just listen.” Berninger’s longing for human connection lies in the song, which is juxtaposed with a dissociated world on “Laugh Track”.

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The National’s working methods were apparently somewhat dissociated in the past. Instead of recording together, the band’s songs emerged from playbacks that Aaron Dessner designed and had his colleagues implement – this explains a certain elegance in The National’s music. Incidentally, Dessner also gave Taylor Swift such playbacks, which became “Folklore” – the album that made Dessner a star producer. It is a legitimate form of music production.

But for a new commonality, The National needed direct cooperation. The band rehearsed the new songs during extensive sound checks and finally recorded them at Tucker Martine in Portland. You feel the simultaneous and the cautiously uncontrolled, and you feel all The National feelings more intensely than before. Not that The National have ever been heartless, but here they find their heart again.

Rosanne Cash sings along to one song; Justin Vernon and Phoebe Bridgers are also there. But the features hardly matter; this is about the band. Nice to hear on the closing “Smoke Detector”, an almost eight minute long improvisation recorded at a sound check that becomes a song before our ears. (4AD)


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Bonny Light Horseman :: “Rolling Golden Holy”

Anaïs Mitchell’s trio now writes their own folk songs.

Matt Berninger :: Serpentine Prison

The National singer plays with many guests on his solo album


“Eucalyptus”: The National show music video for third “First Two Pages of Frankenstein” release

The indie band will release their new album on April 28th. Now they have presented the third release from it.

The National: “New Order T-Shirt” released as a song and merch

The indie band worked with New Order to design a T-shirt for the second single from the announced album. The song, merch and concert tickets are available here.

The National announce new album – song “Tropic Morning News” in the stream here

The first taste of The National’s new album can now be heard.