Over the years, The National have become a fiery, unpredictable live band. The duelling guitars of the Dessner brothers have often defined the band’s ever-larger shows, but this chaos and sense of abandon never quite made it onto the band’s records. Until now.
‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’, the first single from the band’s seventh album ‘Sleep Well Beast’, has a guitar solo. It’s the first full-on guitar solo in the band’s eighteen-year career. The letting loose and unlocking of the band’s live firepower - abandoning restraint in ways they previously never quite dared - makes ‘The System…’ a brilliant return.
“We’re in a different kind of thing now,” Matt Berninger sings, and for a band so traditionally used to staying inside their (albeit brilliant) box, ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’ is a revelation.