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.
Records & Merch
More like this
This week’s pick of the biggest and best new songs.
There’s a sense their marathon is far from complete.
Whitney, Boy Azooga and Let’s Eat Grandma also impress.
Her swansong performance for the ‘High As Hope’ run is just as hypnotic and emotive as her first.