Baritone brooder Matt Berninger hangs out with two sets of brothers -- the Dessner guitarists and the Devendorf rhythm section -- and forms a band. Originally a fairly punky, snide proposition, they’ve become more inwardly anxious, using ornate instrumentation, pindrop production and the occasional Sufjan Stevens piano cameo to create records of immense detail. Post-punk men in suits they may be, but Berninger’s sharp lyrical self-flagellation has turned them into a band of modern-day anthem makers, able to turn sadness and sensitivity into a universal theme.
After a couple of non-starters The National released Alligator, a record of punk rock trepidation that showed off Matt Berninger's lyrical whims with shakier, more abrasive songwriting. Their sound immediately fleshed out via the lush, score-like arrangements of Aaron Dessner, whose vision drove them to create Boxer, a softer and altogether lovelier record. Since then their sound has grown more precise, retaining some of Berninger's unassailable energy amidst flurries of violin, piano and trombone. Think Coldplay with a sharper mind and a hungrier heart, and you've got Trouble Will Find Me. Having dabbled with electronics on their recent record of mumble-pop, Sleep Well Beast, they're starting to change their tack, but we're sure the next National record will be a pretty affair.