Just passionless and reaching..It feels like they've peaked and looking for what the felt previously, and its not working..
They are in their stride
By J. Brash
Their songwriting is hitting their "Zen Zone" . You can tell their friendship,
workmanship, and self discovery is at its all time highest level. A real pleasure to hear their journey and the world is better place for the National in it!
love the band, but his album left me hollow. And not in the usual National way - even for them its just too plodding and lugubrious at times without drawing me in as previous albums did. Ssome of these songs are what Xanax listens to to fall asleep
The National is doing something few bands can do. So often, it seems, bands peak on a third or fourth album, but continue to make music in uninspired and self-parodying ways, and fans get diminishing returns. The National, with each new album, feels like they are just hitting their stride. I've tried to explain The National's sound to friends unfamiliar with them, and it's not easy, because they embrace opposing forces. Sleep Well Beast continues to bring songs which are tight, minimalist in some ways, but which feel full--- there is a lot of instrumentation, but nothing feels crowded or overdone. There is intense emotion and life in these songs, but they are never bombastic. Songs are sedating and agitating at the same time. But then that's the reflection of the psychic material in these pieces. Sleep Well Beast is simultaneously haunting and soothing, and it's one hell of an album. Well done, National, well done.
Their best yet..
By Why so late boy
In my opinion probably their best album in their discography. Accessible, deep, layered, everything you want in an album from The National. Top 5 for 2017!
Sleep Well Beast
The National just never disappoint, it seems as if they're incapable of making a bad album. However, after a string of perfect (or close to it) albums, SWB is just great but sadly not brilliant. The National almost never have filler tracks but there's a couple here. Mainly the title track that closes the album. At 7 minutes, there's really nothing remotely memorable in it. It just kinda meanders. That's true with "walk it back" too which strives to be experimental and haunting but achieves neither of those things. Matt even sounds like he's bored on those songs. But for those few songs, there's the beautiful opener "nobody else will be there" and the brilliant and catchy "day I die". They even have a fun loud song in here "turtleneck" which makes things on the album a little more unpredictable. The first single "the system only dreams in total darkness" sounds pretty different than most National songs and is already one of my favorites. Most of the album is beautiful but things get slightly boring on "swb" "walk it back" and "empire line"
By dvduzddufui vv
Not Their Best
After listening to the album three times I'm a bit let down. I'm all for changing things and progressing but this is a B+/C- at best. There are some great songs and some crap. I feel like maybe after all the different side projects the guys tried to combine too many different ideas into a new National sound. Way too much synth, drum machines and yellow wine.
Transcendent and Beautiful. The National's best album in a collection of great ones.
Sleep Well Beast is The National's best work. There are no bad tracks here, and the atmosphere is consistently dark but adventurous and full of wonder. An album for exploring and living with...Sleep Well Beast.