Reviews

The National
Sleep Well Beast

(4AD)

7/10

Seven albums in, The National were never going to throw up too many surprises, particularly after the ubiquitous success of previous album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, which all but confirmed their long-played status as the dapper kings of elegant insecurity. Where that album had hallmarks that made 2005’s ‘Alligator’ and 2007’s ‘Boxer’ staples of most 30-something’s record collections, ‘Sleep Well Beast’ sticks to the idea that if you sit with a National album long enough, it’ll always reel you in – guitar solos and all.

Matt Berninger continues to stand tall as the charismatic conductor, his talk of love, loss, wine and weed forever making him the most interesting person at the dinner party. Still sounding like your best hangover, his baritone register rumbles low over the tumultuous guitar of ‘Turtleneck’, hangs heavier than the dead air of a phone break-up on ‘Nobody Else Will Be There’ and towers high on the anthemic ‘Day I Die’. It leaves ‘Sleep Well Beast’ split somewhere between sadness and triumph, but an eloquent reminder that The National still do despondency more elegantly than anyone else.

Loud And Quiet needs your help

The COVID-19 crisis has cut off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded how we promoted new independent artists.

Now we must ask for your help.

If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, please consider becoming a subscribing member. It works out to just £1 per week, to receive our next 6 issues, our 15-year anniversary zine, access to our digital editions, the L&Q brass pin, exclusive playlists, the L&Q bookmark and loads of other extras.