The National set for UK shows
Five Reasons to go and see the epic melancholic quintet
1. They’re The National
Baritone heart-throb Matt Berninger once remarked that his epic quintet doesn’t really have ‘casual fans’. This is something of an understatement. Obsessive responses to their melancholic rock tend to veer between adulation and wonder.
2. For the joy of High Violet
Ten years on from their cult inception, The National released High Violet (4AD) in 2010. It’s their fifth and most commercially successful album yet. Berninger said of its glorious genesis: ‘We tried to make a light and happy record, but it didn’t happen.’ (It is vast and uplifting – albeit fired-up with full-on tearjerkers.)
3. They don’t shy away from rock as a political tool.
From their vocal support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign (and more recently during the mid-term elections), to curating and producing 4AD’s Dark Was the Night compilation (for AIDS charity the Red Hot Organization), The National regularly flex pop music’s sociological muscle.
4. Because ‘I had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain’.
Variously sermonising on parenthood, bluebirds on shoulders, aching nostalgia and sick paranoia, The National’s themes and lyrics are a broad, if often troubled, church. If you’ve yet to hear Berninger croon ‘it takes an ocean not to break’ (on colossal new single ‘Terrible Love’), then you are missing a trick.
5. Michael Stipe and The Boss can’t be wrong.
Bruce Springsteen and REM are big supporters of The National, as of course is Barack Obama. Perhaps this is what Berninger meant when he said his fans didn’t tend to be ‘casual’…
02 Academy, Glasgow, Fri 26 Nov