Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast

by The NationalThe National


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The National never seem in a hurry to reach their destination, but there's a sense of quiet urgency on Sleep Well Beast, their seventh album. Much of that momentum arrives in arrangements that generally tend to eschew the grayscale of its 2013 predecessor, Trouble Will Find Me, a record that felt sculpted so that each element was elegantly interlocked. Comparatively, Sleep Well Beast draws attention to itself through the occasional squall of noise ("The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness") and rushed tempo ("Turtleneck"), but also through an expanded sonic palette. Electronics are used for texture and shade, vocal harmonies glide through the mix, pianos anchor a couple of tunes -- all subtle gradients within the National's recognizable formula, but they're enough to give Sleep Well Beast a distinct character. Such a shift may not be startling, particularly since it takes a while for album opener "Nobody Else Will Be There" to fade into view, but by the time the murmuring title track evaporates, it's evident that Sleep Well Beast offers a journey with satisfying detours. This is a welcome departure (and perhaps necessary complement) to Trouble Will Find Me, which celebrated its finely manicured stillness. While Sleep Well Beast offers more than its fair share of hushed moments -- the National design their music to be lean-in listening, requiring an investment from their audience not only so that the lyrics can be deciphered, but so the subdued shifts in emphasis seem dynamic -- this familiar signature seems enhanced by the fact that these soft, slow songs are surrounded by cuts where the darkness opens up slightly but significantly. It's enough to make Sleep Well Beast feel like a dramatic departure in the close quarters of the National's discography.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/08/2017
Label: 4Ad
UPC: 0191400002029
catalogNumber: 201
Rank: 24665

Album Credits

Performance Credits

National   Primary Artist
Katia Labèque   Piano
Andi Toma   Keyboards
Jan St. Werner   Keyboards
Arone Dyer   Vocals
Thomas Bartlett   Keyboards
Bryce Dessner   Group Member
Matt Berninger   Vocals,Group Member
Aaron Dessner   Group Member
Bryan Devendorf   Group Member
Scott Devendorf   Group Member
Nick Lloyd   Organ
Lisa Hannigan   Vocals
Carin Besser   Vocals
Benachir Boukhatem   Viola
Justin Vernon   Synthesizer,Vocals
Alex Ridha   electronic percussion
Jason Treuting   Percussion,Drums
Cédric Bonnet   Horn
David Chalmin   Drums,Performing Ensemble
Kyle Resnick   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Vocals
Benjamin Lanz   Synthesizer,Trombone
Walter Martin   Organ,Vox Continental
Eric Beach   Percussion,Drums
Marine Gandon   Viola
Erwan Castex   Keyboards,electronic percussion
Domitille Gilon   Violin
Maaike Van Der Linde   Flute,Bass Flute
Pauline Hauswirth   Violin
Josh Kaufman   Guitar
Ariadna Teyssier   Violin
Barbara Le Liepvre   Cello
Bastien Nouri   Oboe
Romain Bly   Horn
Thomas Garoche   Basse
Sarah Chenaf   Viola
Renaud Guy Rousseau   Clarinet
Matthias Piccin   Violin
Marc Desjardins   Violin
Louise Lapierre   Bassoon
Leslie Boulin Raulet   Violin
Juliette Salmona   Cello
Grégoire Dubruel   Basse
Emma Landarrabilco   Flute
Ella Jarrige   Cello
Emilie Duch-Sauzeau   Violin
Charlotte Juillard   Violin
Nikolai Spassov   Violin

Technical Credits

National   Arranger,Composer
Andi Toma   Engineer
Jan St. Werner   Engineer
Peter Katis   Producer,Additional Production
James McAlister   drum programming
Bryce Dessner   Composer,Producer,Orchestration,drum programming
Matt Berninger   Composer,Producer
Aaron Dessner   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Bryan Devendorf   drum programming
Carin Besser   Composer
David Chalmin   Engineer
Jonathan Low   Engineer
Sean O'Brien   Vocal Engineer
Maaike Van Der Linde   Orchestration

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