After my R.E.M. diversion last week, we delve back into my nephew’s unending stack of indie rock records. This time pulling out “High Violet,” a 2010 release by The National, a Brooklyn-based band originally from Cincinnati.
Three things I like about this band: First, their album cover looks like something my son would create. Second, their lead singer Matt Berninger has a rich, baritone voice that is easy for me to sing along with. Third, “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”
I wasn’t immediately taken by this album. It starts off kinda slow with “Terrible Love,” which I found plodding. In fact the album didn’t really catch my attention until track 6, the aforementioned “Bloodbuzz Ohio.” Now here’s a song. This is the standout tune of all the indie rock I’ve been subjected to these past 5 months. It’s percussion driven, which is great. Berninger’s vocals are at their best. And the lyrics don’t make any sense. But they’re so catchy.
And the rest of the album is much improved from there on. “High Violet” is a rare album where the second half is better than the first. “Lemonworld” and “Runaway,” the songs that follow “Bloodbuzz,” are also strong tunes.
The rest of the album did take a while to grow on me, but now I like it pretty much overall. Recommended.