The National's Violet Streak
Brooklyn's Star Band in Prospect Park Ahead of New Album
High Violet, The National’s fifth and latest album, represents the band at the height of its powers, confidently evolving the arresting, quasi-orchestral sound that made 2007’s Boxer such a critical success. The lead single “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is a case in point, masterfully combining pounding, near-tribal drumbeats with shimmering polyrhythmic guitar patterns, plaintive keyboard melodies and, most distinctively, the ever-lugubrious baritone of singer Matt Berninger. In contrast to that grand sweep, today’s exclusive video, shot by photographer Susanna Howe (The New York Times, New York Magazine), depicts the Brooklyn-based band chilling out in Prospect Park just before kicking off their current tour last week. The accompanying track, “Sorrow,” carries the shades of darkness characteristic of The National, but bassist and keyboardist Aaron Dessner maintains it is an honest, lighthearted portrait. “We’re just goofing around,” he says. “A lot of people assume that we’re miserable guys and this music is dark, but actually there’s quite a lot of humor in it. “Sorrow” is a sad song, but it is also a kind of weird celebration of feeling sorrow… some people like that feeling and they don’t want to get rid of it.” The film also features blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos of crew members working with legendary filmmaker DA Pennebaker (director of the classic Bob Dylan tour documentary Don't Look Back). Pennebaker has been busy filming The National in preparation for a live-streaming YouTube webcast of the group’s concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15.