Nearly 20 years ago The National released their second album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers. It was their first time working with co-producer Peter Katis who would produce their next two discs and the first to include Bryce Dessner as a full member. The band grows their sound from the first release with chiming guitars on “Slipping Husband” and halfway through “90-Mile Water Wall” where the song changes direction with an extended instrumental passage.
Matt Berninger is still trying to find his voice on many wordy songs. “Available” has an anthemic feel that Berninger struggles to keep up with. Better are the tracks where he takes a more minimalist approach such as the guitar driven “Murder Me Rachael” and the lyrically simpler “Sugar Wife”. The album closes with the country tinged “Lucky You”. Like the first album, this has the sound of the city’s best bar band who would have been blinding to have stumbled across across one night.