- 02 Oct 23
Fans of indie kings have plenty to smile about
There’s a spooky seasonality about The treats on The National’s surprise new LP. Made in secret and hailed as “a companion” to their chart topping recent record First Two Pages Of Frankenstein, Laugh Track will leave many fans of the infamously mopey bunch grinning from ear to ear. Built around the talents of tub thumper Bryan Devendorf, who briefly found himself on the subs bench for Team National, their tenth album features a fistful of more than hummable tunes.
Littered with guest stars/old friends including Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers and Rosanne Cash, Laugh Track is a livelier listen than the dense ...Frankenstein. ‘Deep End (Paul’s In Pieces),’ a gloomy heir to buoyant ‘80s classic ‘The Boys Of Summer’, will be a live favourite for years, while the near eight-minute jagged jam ‘Smoke Detector’ builds to a fiery, distortion-filled pay-off.
There is an unmistakable flavour of “B-Side Material” off some tracks, especially on the aimless ‘Dreaming’, and you have to wonder what might have been if they combined the very best cuts from both LPs. Regardless, there’s no doubt that the country-spiced ‘Crumble’ and the piano-led heartbreaker ‘Hornets’ are pure class, and will earn The National even more admirers.