"Sleep Well Beast" is the seventh studio album by The National. The album was released on September 8, 2017, on 4AD.
The seventh full-length studio release for the indie rock band was produced by band member Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 85, based on 25 reviews, indicating "Universal acclaim ".
Because, in spite of the expectations of "another National album," Sleep Well Beast is a towering achievement. It's a tweaking of the formula that the band has been riding since Alligator (and that they perfected on Boxer). But here, they're taking chances like they haven't since then, and almost everything they're trying works beautifully. The first hint of this is in opener, "Nobody Else Will Be Here"-behind the usual piano and Berninger's still-stirring baritone, electronic sounds and synthesizers gurgle. It's not until "Walk It Back" that they burst into the foreground, with a chugging beat that decays into a Karl Rove (yes, that Karl Rove) quote.
Sleep Well Beast is the sound of one of the best bands of this decade pulling new sounds into their repertoire and making those sounds wholly theirs. It's difficult to deny music this well-crafted and affecting—and perhaps being able to make anything beautiful and affirming in the Trump era is notable. This is the band's best album since Boxer, and will stand as one of the year's best.
Reviewed by Ryan E.C. Hamm for undertheradarmag.com. User Comments