2017 album. ‘Sleep Well Beast’ was produced by member Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron Dessner’s Hudson Valley, New York studio, Long Pond, with additional sessions having taken place in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles.
Formed in 1999 and with the line-up settled two years later with two sets of brothers (the Dessner’s and Devendorf’s) and frontman Matt Berninger, The National have reached their seventh album with ‘Sleep Well Beast’.
It has been a long road since the early noughties. Their first two albums ‘The National’ and ‘Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers’ came out on the small Brassland label which was started by the Dessner brothers and Alec Hanley Bemis. These two records brought them a cult following which UK label Beggar’s Banquet picked up on and signed them for theit third album ‘Alligator’ (2005). Another slow burner sales wise, their upward trajectory continued apace when the next album ‘Boxer’ (2007) gave them their breakthrough.
When Beggars were folded into 4AD, The National became part of this legendary label and remain with them to this day - each album doing better than the one before. On the surface The National’s music could be characterised as ‘Indie Rock’ but their guitar based sound is augmented with superb arrangements and the distinctive voice of Matt Berninger. In a way they are the successors to R.E.M.’s mantle, not in sound but just a highly respected band who have also turned their hand to film and producing other artists.