Thursday, June 7, 2007
All Roads Lead to Duck: The National - Boxer
There's nothing like a new album to get you through standstill traffic. The Rockists took yet another road trip. This time it was to OBX (or the Outer Banks for you less dignified folk). Thinking we could beat traffic the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend by leaving at 1pm (didn't happen) we waited hesitantly to start Boxer until after our Sonic trip. Realizing that it wouldn't happen for at least 2 hours (it took 4), we hooked up the iPod to hear the rhythmic piano chords of "Fake Empire."
Following up Alligator shouldn't be an easy task. After listening to the first two songs you can sense the natural progression of their music (the constant crescendo into horns in "Fake Empire" and the off beat percussion with little more than monotone lyrics in "Mistaken for Strangers"). On first listening, though, the rest of the album was a little disappointing. There aren't any balls out, heart on the table rock songs like the ones that peppered Alligator (which is what drew me to The National in the first place). The vocal melodies seemed lazy and unenthusiastic. Hell, there are even pitch problems in "Start a War." Maybe I'm wrong and Matt Berringer likes singing in a sliding diminished key, but it just isn't pleasant to my ear.
Now, before you crucify me for hating on these guys. Like Mr. Holland with John Coltrane, the more I listen to the album the more it grows on me. I now think it's a fantastic release. I think the musicality of "Ada" finally sold me on the album. So there you have it. I like it.
Oh, and the Outer Banks is gorgeous this time of year.