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After two back-to-back albums and several busy years of touring, First Two Pages of Frankenstein was initially stalled while lead singer Matt Berninger navigated, “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all. Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.” Instead, The National “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band,” according to guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner, whose bandmates also include his brother Aaron (guitar/piano/bass) as well as brothers Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).
First Two Pages of Frankenstein channels the group’s revitalized chemistry into a body of work that beautifully balances elegant musicality with The National’s more idiosyncratic impulses. Tracks such as 'Grease in Your Hair' and 'Ice Machines' were road-tested in 2022 before they were recorded, allowing the band to hone the material in real time (another song, 'Weird Goodbyes' featuring Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, was released as a standalone track last August). “To me the power of this record has to do with the intentionality and structure of the music meeting with a lot of accidental magic,” says Aaron Dessner.
1. Once Upon A Poolside (feat. Sufjan Stevens)
3. New Order T-Shirt
4. This Isn’t Helping (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
5. Tropic Morning News
7. The Alcott (feat. Taylor Swift)
8. Grease in Your Hair
9. Ice Machines
10. Your Mind Is Not Your Friend (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
11. Send for Me