The adapt-or-die mantra that seems to have become so important to contemporary musicians never seemed to apply to The National, a group who’ve gradually become an institution without ever really trying. If you accept this, then the changes on I Am Easy To Find mark some kind of deliberately taken risk, one that, such is the nature of that junket itself, delivers something that will divide opinion.
It’s also obvious given their mainstream success that the Minnesotans have more scope for experimentation than most, so perhaps this was coming, along with a partner short film directed by Mike Mills that he’s claimed has a sibling-like relationship to the music.
These new vectors go as far as Matt Beringer taking a vocal backseat on a number of occasions, conferring on him the perhaps intended role of narrator, father or confidant depending on the scene. There are still familiar touchstones here, but on The Pull of You, Hey Rosey and Dust Swirls In Strange Light the out-of-band experience The National were looking for arrives very much for (Sur)real.
You can read the full review here.