Matt Berninger - 'Serpentine Prison'

8/10

While this may be his first solo outing to date, we have expected The National's Matt Berninger to be putting this one out for a while now. Although he remains very much a solid part of his formative outfit today, he has spent the last few years spreading his creative wings as a producer and guest artist, looking for new and exciting challenges that will ultimately see him as more than just the frontman to one of the world's most applauded groups. So now he returns with his debut solo album 'Serpentine Prison', a record that plays it safe in the most elegant way possible.

Usually when an artist breaks away to work on a solo project, it mostly means that they have something new they want to try and explore. But for Matt Berninger, 'Serpentine Prison' is less about breaking new ground but simply finding an outlet for more of the music that he wants to make. So while fans of The National will no doubt find dozens of similarities on here, the full-length still makes for a bold and progressive endeavour throughout. Stripping back much of the usual fanfare, Berninger sits front and centre throughout this new collection, aiding in seeing him more of a tortured poet than the stadium-filling rockstar we have known him as until now.

49-years-old may be one of the oldest ages anyone has released a debut album, but the age and wisdom he brings to the album is insurmountable. From the very beginning, 'Serpentine Prison' sees itself as a broad and multifaceted affair that brings together every facet of Berninger's diverse personality, creating an eclectic yet succinct release that sees him shine throughout.

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