The National

High Violet

Over the course of their 10-plus-year career, The National have crafted a bevy of respectable material—and a stronghold of fans—with their serious, frills-free take on indie rock. Through a combination of strong songwriting, instrumental flourishes (thinks horns, synths, and violins), and singer Matt Berninger’s unmistakably gravelly warble, they’ve championed a niche that many have long considered dead. On their fifth and latest release, High Violet, the band stunningly and successfully embraces their strong suits: writing sweeping rock about mundane travesties like raising a family and paying a mortgage. Through slow-building orchestrations, songs like “England” and “Little Faith” come alive with a barely restrained fury that perfectly mirrors Berninger’s vocal desperation. And while the subject matter might not be the most revelatory, the band’s meticulous attention to detail, pacing, and storytelling make High Violet one of the most affecting releases of 2010 thus far.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

News Commentary: Ribbon Cutting Is Not as Easy as It Looks

Grand opening for new Eastside bridge conveys a tingle of progress.

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.

San Marcos Principal Files Suit Against Santa Barbara Unified School District

Ed Behrens charges emotional and physical distress due to demotion.