Album Review: The National, Sleep Well Beast

The National 
Sleep Well Beast 

To me, The National have always been the kings of “sad bastard music.” It’s not an insult by any stretch. Some bands just fit a certain mood and they do it so well. So, in that regard their newest album is on the right trajectory the band has been in since their beginnings. Unfortunately, their 2010 release High Violet felt like the highlight of their career for a while. It’s not to dismiss 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me at all, but it didn’t have that big “punch in the gut” feel that High Violet had with songs like “Bloodbuzz Ohio” or “Conversation 16.” “Sea of Love” was the closest Trouble Will Find Me came to matching that, but it still fell way short. Sleep Well Beast, however, has potential. It’s a good album on its own and has some standout songs, like “Day I Die” and “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness.” Whatever rut The National seemed to be in they appear to be shaking it off.(4AD) by Andrew Fetter