by The NationalThe National


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The National don't do anything radically different on Boxer, but then again, they don't really need to: their literate, quietly anthemic take on indie rock seemed to have arrived fully formed on their 2001 self-titled debut. Boxer just hones in even more precisely and intimately on the heartfelt territory the band covers, with punchy-yet-polished production and orchestration by the Clogs' Padma Newsome giving these songs an intimacy and widescreen expansiveness that rivals the Arcade Fire. The album's first four songs are among the National's finest work yet: "Fake Empire" begins as a dead-of-night ballad that echoes Leonard Cohen, then peppy brass and guitars turn it into something joyous. The brooding "Mistaken for Strangers" touches on the side of the band that could be mistaken for a more hopeful Joy Division, if lyrics like "You wouldn't want an angel watching over you?/Surprise surprise, they wouldn't want to watch" can be counted as hopeful. "Brainy," a borderline obsessive love song, shows off the remarkable, dark chocolate richness of Matt Berninger's vocals and how well they complement the band's occasionally bookish lyrics, while "Squalor Victoria" makes the most of Newsome's lavish string arrangements. The rest of Boxer is subtler, but no less accomplished, with each song supporting the other as a classic album should. "Apartment Story"'s hypnotic chug and "Slow Show"'s witty, knowing affection make them standouts, while the graceful, regretful "Ada" plays more like a short story than a song. As focused as it is ambitious, Boxer is riveting.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/22/2007
Label: Beggars Banquet Us
UPC: 0607618025229
catalogNumber: 80252
Rank: 90436

Album Credits

Performance Credits

National   Primary Artist
Sarah Phillips   Clarinet
Tim Albright   Trombone
Thomas Bartlett   Keyboards
Sufjan Stevens   Piano
Padma Newsome   Organ,Violin,Viola
Bryce Dessner   Guitar,Group Member
Rachael Elliott   Bassoon
Matt Berninger   Vocals,Group Member
Aaron Dessner   Bass Guitar,Group Member
Bryan Devendorf   Drums,Group Member
Scott Devendorf   Bass Guitar,Group Member
Carin Besser   Vocals
Pauline DeLassus   Vocals
Alexandra Sopp   Flute
Ha-Yang Kim   Cello

Technical Credits

National   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Peter Katis   Producer,Engineer
Bennett Paster   Engineer
Padma Newsome   Orchestration
Bryce Dessner   Arranger
Matt Berninger   Composer
Aaron Dessner   Arranger,Producer
Greg Giorgio   Engineer
Carin Besser   Composer
Josh Clark   Engineer
Abbey Drucker   Cover Photo
Brandon Reid   Engineer

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