Eighteen years into their career and still going strong, The National bring their international tour to Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center on Monday, December 4. Sleep Well Beast, the band’s seventh studio album, was released on September 8. My first impression was that they’d loosened up a bit – it had seemed that each album since Alligator, their third, released in 2005, got tighter and tighter in terms of composition. That’s not to say that Sleep Well Beast is a messy affair, but there is a certain sense of exploration that was not prioritized on their more recent records.
While the lyrical content of the album maintains lead singer Matt Berninger’s reputation for melancholy, the aesthetic qualities of the music vary from song to song. “Turtleneck” might be the most straightforward rocker of the band’s career, while lead single “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” brings in some more electronic textures, and “Carin at the Liquor Store” is an honest-to-goodness piano ballad. The National have yet to take a misstep in all their years of existence, and while Sleep Well Beast takes a moderately-sized step outside of their collective comfort zone, their streak of solid-to-fantastic albums remains unbroken.
Who: The National with This Is the Kit
When: Monday, December 4, 8:00 PM
Where: Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center (300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA)
*Tickets are sold out*