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Over the course of four full-length records, Brooklyn’s The National have become critical darlings of the indie rock world, with each successive LP seeming to garner ever-higher levels of praise. Unlike so many of their blog-hyped peers, The National has consistently merited such adoration. Their music touches on traditions including chamber-pop, canyon rock, and varied U.K. influences, but their overall tone is of a moody (though not saturnine) melancholy. This notion is anchored most noticeably by singer Matt Berninger’s canorous baritone, which rumbles forth from deep within his belly.
Album number five will come in the form of High Violet, set for a May 11th release via 4AD (the band’s two previous efforts were released by sister label Beggars Banquet). “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” the sixth of the record’s eleven tracks, is a mid-tempo affair with plenty of breathing room for Berninger’s vocals and a cohort of acoustic guitar strums and rich piano chords. Bryan Devendorf’s drumming is hard and syncopated throughout, lending a degree of intensity to a song that would feel much looser otherwise.
While one can’t be quite sure what a “bloodbuzz” is, The National make it sound positively intoxicating (except maybe for the part about getting “carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees.”) Velvety and warm, “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is the type of song which swaddles you in its spirit, keeping you safe as it swallows you whole.