Upon first spin, Trouble Will Find Me, the warm, wistful, and weary sixth long-player from The National, sounds a lot like 2010's warm, wistful, and weary High Violet, but where the former was built on a foundation of suburban despondency and casual, middle class self-destruction (and skillfully juggled melodrama and dark comedy), the latter feels mired in regret, seeking refuge in the arms of old friends and lost lovers, sounding for all the world like a single cube of ice lazily swirling about a recently drained tumbler of single malt scotch, a notion best intoned on early album standout "Demons," which casually announces "I am secretly in love with everyone I grew up with." Like nausea, nostalgia can arrive in waves, and Trouble Will Find Me's best moments -- the propulsive "Don't Swallow the Cap" and the one-two sucker punch of pre-set closers "Humiliation" and "Pink Rabbits" -- find Matt Berninger and his laconic baritone nervously pacing the deck of a sinking ship while simultaneously trying to find his sea legs as his bandmates constantly pull the rug out from under him with familiar rhythms and melodies that hide countless trap doors. However, it's that very familiarity that fuels the ire of many of the band's detractors, especially those who consider them to be a slightly creepier, American Coldplay, and while there is definitely an intangible, Mad Men-esque sense of unease that permeates Trouble Will Find Me, one could hardly use the words dangerous or forward-thinking when dissecting its myriad parts. That said, this is the band that performed a chilling rendition of the George R.R. Martin-penned "Rains of Castamere" over the closing credits of the season two finale of Game of Thrones. For better or for worse, they perfected their sound the last time around, so it’s hard to fault them for sticking so close to the fire, especially on such a snowy night.
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