Studio Album by released in 2007

Boxer review

The National lose no chances

The history of the American indie band The National is pretty typical. The band members met in their native Cincinnati in late 90's and soon after moved to Brooklyn, New York in the hope of getting famous. The first albums, as is the custom, didn't bring the band wide popularity yet they gave the musicians a chance to work out their style and to accumulate some experience. In 2005 The National released their third disc Alligator and since then a mass interest to the band just keeps on growing. The collection of those brooding, original songs has posed The National as highly talented followers of indie rock tradition yet with a specific songwriting approach. The album was released without loud acclaim but with the course of time it formed a pretty large fan base, especially after a successful tour with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which gave the band a chance not only to get into 2005 top lists but to receive a support of rock celebrities as well. And now two years later The National are coming back with their new disc Boxer, which turned out to be far better and significant than its predecessor.

Boxer: a new level of professionalism

It is hard to say that the band has changed the stylistics of their music greatly, quite on the contrary, in this respect Boxer proceeds with the line that musicians has laid down on their first records. The National play rock based on traditions of indie division yet with a notable influence of classic rock music, however, you may only feel this influence, there are no distinct associations with certain bands. All this things are still present on Boxer, but difference and charm of the new album lies in the obvious songwriting growth of The National. A dark, brooding, even mysterious style of the band sounded already shaped on their previous record but here it reached a new level of professionalism and confidence. Starting from the first piano chords of Fake Empire the band creates an unbelievably vast atmosphere of solitude, which can be compared with the feelings of a person walking an empty city street in the night. The best songs are mostly concentrated in the first part of the album. Squalor Victoria is a good example; here the musicians represent an interesting combination of complex parties in the arrangement while the main melody remains quite simple and sufficiently catchy. Another highlight is Mistaken For Strangers, it sounds melancholic but pretty energetic at the same time. However, there are some positively sounding pieces too, these songs are mostly based on acoustic guitar, you may pay your attention at such tracks as Green Gloves or Start A War.

Boxer is something bigger than a collection of songs

Speaking about the album in a general sense the first thing to mention is the integrity of the sound. Boxer joins a number of highly varied songs into one whole where every track somehow complements all the rest. One can rarely find a record, which is something bigger than a collection of compositions nowadays. And Boxer is this rare case indeed. Secondly, it is necessary to say a few words about The National's central force – vocalist Mat Berninger. His voice is the key element in this characteristic sorrowful atmosphere - brooding and sad but soaked with hopeless romantics. Low and calmfull it always sounds appropriately and above all it joins the complex arrangements with its simple melody making the songs really accessible. On a big scale Boxer is almost devoid of failures. The album offers such an abundance of interesting godsends that a search of missteps becomes pointless. If you like a heartfelt, always slightly sad and really personal music than Boxer is for you. If not, it is still worthy of listening, the album concerns to that type of records that may help you in discovering new hitherto unexplored moods and may become your longtime sonic companion.