Monday, October 1, 2007

The National - Boxer

(Beggars Banquet, 2007)

Grade: 90%

"Guest Room"

The National has gotten a considerable amount of love on this blog recently, though we've never written an official review. That said, Boxer is a phenomenal album that deserves every minute it's spent riding our left sidebar under "Gold Sounds."

What's perhaps most remarkable about this album is how effortless it seems. Many indie artists seem intent on pushing the envelope as much as possible, sometimes to amazing, other times disappointing, effects. Boxer is an album that does not try to reinvent the wheel, but rather takes great care with the meat-and-potatoes of good songwriting.

What does stand out on this album, the band's fourth, is Matt Berninger's lulling baritone. Whether he's crooning about losing "ruffian" status in "Racing Like a Pro," feeling out of touch with the world in "Green Gloves," or appreciating the little moments in a relationship in "Slow Show," I pine for his every longing, travel along for every misstep.

I could whine about wanting more upbeat tracks like "Mistaken for Strangers" or "Brainy." Or I could go listen to Alligator and shut the hell up.

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