The National: "Trouble Will Find Me"

Matt Berninger examines regret and mortality in another dark masterpiece from the masters of intense indie rock

In the liner notes for Trouble Will Find Me The National dedicates the album to their children. Aaron Dessner, a new daddy to Ingrid Stella Dessner, began writing music with his band mate and brother, Bryce, following the band’s completed tour for High Violet, their last album. Sending the demos along to vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger, the Dessners assumed it would be a while before Berninger digested the material and got back to them. However, Berninger found the music inspired and began work immediately on the lyrics. The result is an album with a brighter musical perspective than what we’ve heard from The National. The lyrics continue to delve into dark subject matter, including failure, regrets, and mortality.


The opening track “I Should Live In Salt” sets the stage for Berninger’s unsettled emotions. Written for his brother Tom (who directed the forthcoming documentary on the band “Mistaken For Strangers”) finds Berringer ruminating on the mistakes made within their relationships. Rolling into “Demons” Berringer reveals his penchant for giving into his darker inclinations. “Fireproof” is rumination on a failed relationship. “Graceless” examine an unhealthy but addictive love relationship with clever lyrics that play endlessly and amusingly on the word “graceless.”


While Berninger details his faults the Dessner’s offer brighter musical tones. The production is densely layered and builds to ascending heights. Trouble Will Find Me was recorded in upstate New York, in Rhinebeck’s Clubhouse Studios and at Dreamland Studios in near-by West Hurley. The album’s contributing cast is a who’s-who of northeastern indie rockers including Annie Clark, aka, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Sufjan Stevens, and Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire. The recording sessions were interrupted by Hurricane Sandy which forced the band to kill time by playing the new songs acoustically. Perhaps this intimate connection to the music helped the band connect to the melodies and emotions of the songs in a deeper way. Although the band hasn’t changed direction musically there is a heightened intensity to the performance.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)