Over the last two decades, The National have been seen as one of the more euphoric and adventurous names in the indie-rock arena. Largely moving between sombre compositions and more vibrant outings, the band's sound has been met with public and commercial acclaim at almost every turn. And after proving they are still very much on top of their game with the 2019 LP 'I Am Easy To Find', they return once more for their ninth studio album 'First Two Pages Of Frankenstein', a record that seeks to continue their vibrant ascent once again.
Since their last LP, the band's Aaron Dessner has quickly established himself as one of the more inventive pop producers in the world right now, which explains how they were able to get the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift to make guest appearances on this new collection. But despite its ambitious ideals, 'First Two Pages Of Frankenstein' does have trouble getting itself off the ground in places. It still fits that traditional National direction to a tee, but feels a little lacking in the truly anthemic nature they have displayed in the past.
Although it might not have the same instant appeal as their more heralded work, 'First Two Pages Of Frankenstein' still makes for a warm and inviting listen throughout. The voice of Matt Berninger remains as alluring as ever and delivers a shimmering array of heartfelt gems to get your teeth into throughout.