Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The National-Don't Swallow the Cap

I stand by the statements I made about The National in my write-up about "Demons"; how The National will keep making quieter and more introspective tunes that mine deeper into the High Violet rather than returning to their Alligator bombast per se. And to a certain degree, "Don't Swallow the Cap" evokes all those things to a tee. The track is based around the multitude of different piano lines that ping-pong across the track, the guitar is barely audible until the end, and Matt Berninger's vocals never swell or scream, instead uttered in a quiet, knowing cool.

And yet "Don't Swallow the Cap" is a massive pick-up when placed next to "Demons". The drums practically jump out of the song, they have such a precise intensity to them. The pianos has just the right groove to it, all the different layers in exact synchronicity with one another that it is constantly moving the track up. Berninger's vocals flow perfectly with all this, especially when the chorus hits and they not only interlock with gorgeous guest female vocals, but start a background call and response that makes the track. Not to mention the lyrics themselves, which are wink at the listener just as much as in "Demons"; what other band would have the line "And if you want to see me cry/Play "Let it Be" or "Nevermind"? Yet at the same time, the chest-swelling sadness that makes The National The National is there, buried but present. This is the song that would perfectly soundtrack the movie version of "Less than Zero", if John Hughes had directed it. "Don't Swallow the Cap" has this wonderful cinematic quality to it that powers it to the greatest of heights.


The National's Website
Pre-order Trouble Will Find Me here, from 4AD

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