British Columbia

Enter Shikari Live at the Imperial

Enter Shikari Live at the Imperial

By Brendan Lee Imperial Friday, February 16th, 2018 VANCOUVER – Reaching peak velocity on the end of their first Canadian…


Beatroute BC on Instagram

  • devhynes is one of the many incredible headliners set tohellip
  • Dan Starlings experimental film The Chorus provides a fresh takehellip
  • Noble Oak is taking the Rhodes less travelled Check outhellip
  • ExOzzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wyldehellip
  • BeatRoute has a weekly podcast on saveonradio every Monday fromhellip
  • Already backed by a considerable YouTube following for her ukelelehellip
  • entershikari are bona fide masters of versatility with a genreblendinghellip
  • Rise  Shine Music Seminar is an event to showcasehellip
  • Welsh pop punk outfit Neck Deep are playing at voguetheatrehellip

The National – Sleep Well Beast 

Tuesday 05th, September 2017 / 16:04


By Alec Warkentin


For all intents and purposes, the ever-growing acclaim surrounding Cincinnati commiserators The National can be attested to anything but a brimming and constant need for experimentation — but their latest album, Sleep Well Beast, finds the group revelling more outwardly than ever before. 

Following the success of their last release Trouble Will Find Me, the past four years have found each respective member of the band focusing primarily on side-projects, individually fracturing into various collaborations with other artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Jonny Greenwood, and Brent Knopf. 

But the burning question for one of the biggest bands in indie-rock, a group known for their overt dedication to grandiose subtlety, latent slow-burn tracks that bleed familiarity with permeating emotional dread, and wickedly-talented composition that grows in the mind like ivy, is always How? How could they possibly continue their consistent stream of quality albums, each more acclaimed than the last? 

The answer to this question is found in Sleep Well Beast, an album constructed with familiar framework—down-tempo malaise and rollicking percussion—a house built on a tried-and-true foundation, rooms filled with self-referential lyrics and sad-sack moroseness, but this time decorated with left-turn flair: bristling guitar solos (“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”), oscillating synth-work (“Walk It Back”), and unbridled urgency (“Turtleneck”). 

Sleep Well Beast also marks one of the most sonically-rich albums in The National’s near-impeccable discography, with each moment featuring minute sounds and ambience in an aural experience that only serves to compliment the honeyed baritone of vocalist Matt Berninger. 

Drummer Bryan Devendorf’s percussion is, as always, on point (“Day I Die”), and the influence from guitarist/keyboardist Bryce Dessner’s work on the solar-system-inspired album Planetarium shines through the glitchy keys on tracks like “Empire Line” and “I’ll Still Destroy You.” 

There is also a structural contrast from the The National’s previous two releases Trouble Will Find Me (2013) and High Violet (2010), which were carried on a fluid wave of emotional resonance, each track flowing into one another very simply and delicately. Sleep Well Beast, while retaining some fluidity, is more of a callback to the shifting tonal structures of Alligator (2005) and Boxer (2007), and manages to do so without seeming regressive in its execution. 

While Sleep Well Beast may not probe any new territory thematically, primarily focusing on the dissolution of relationships and friendships, ruminating in the melancholic way that only Berninger’s lyricism can, the album still manages to hit the emotional high-points that the long-time National fans hunger for (“Nobody Else Will Be There,” “Carin at the Liquor Store”). 

If anything, Sleep Well Beast can be considered the first album by The National that isn’t a grower — it comes out full force, showcasing the best parts of a band full of talented performers who know their strengths, playing music together in utter synergy.

, , ,

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: is a member of Apple Music's Affiliate Program. This site collects commissions on purchases that our site's readers decide to make from Apple Music/iTunes affiliate embeds and hyperlinks provided in our posts.




Beatroute AB on Instagram

  • I Am The Mountain are set to release something soulfulhellip
  • Video premiere alert! Erin Kay debuts Holding You Tonight exclusivelyhellip
  • Record review On songs like the opener Doghead brittle guitarhellip
  • NorthernCree are the worlds premier powwow round dance drum andhellip
  • This is just the first wave people Over 200 morehellip
  • What we want to create is the notion that yourehellip
  • February 2018 issue out now  This month features Amythysthellip
  • Cartel Madras is playing the first ever hiphop set tohellip
  • Sup? Feel like going to a party? Heard there willhellip