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Well, it's Boxer by the National, but live. In spite of album artwork that clearly indicates the band performing their music out at a respectable function hall, the original record was a studio undertaking. True. Now coloured in, that artwork makes true on its former lie because it's Boxer by the National, but live. In Brussels.

Two weeks ago this was a Record Store Day release. 

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  • 4AD0077CD / CD on 4AD
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Boxer: Live In Brussels by The National
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2 people love this record. Be the 3rd!
7/10 Robin Staff review, 11 July 2018

This is one of those records that Record Store Day earnestly promises you will be rare and sought after so get it while you can. Well, a couple months and several indecent lies later, it’s available in droves for all who want it, so more fool us. More fools everywhere. It’s ‘Boxer’, by the National, a stone-cold classic of democratic nominee soft rock. This time, though, you can hear it live, which effectively offers the same thing without the keen detail you get from band producer Aaron Dessner. Plus other goodies: hearing Matt Berninger try and pull off his mutter-scowls and finding out just how raspy that trombone is without a bit of mastering.

One for the diehards, basically, and I’m not judging: I’m one of them. These songs are absolute classics, and see the National stuck between stations, not quite past the punky inelegance of ‘Alligator’ but keen to dust down their suits and make something calmer in the twilight of their mid twenties. I mean, I have no idea what age they were when they made ‘Boxer’, but it’s the National: adulthood, eh? These songs are beautiful and yet still burned: “Mistaken For Strangers” with its shredding paranoia, for instance, or how about the mumbled fuzz guitars of “Apartment Story”? Some of these songs sound punchy and powerful live, while the quieter, more arranged affairs, like “Star A War” sound as pretty as ever. All good: it is all good.

Of course, you could just, you know, listen to ‘Boxer’, the album. But this one has pretty colours on the front. I want it I want it I want it.



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