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Review of Boxer Album by The National

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Album Review

The National Boxer Album

The National had an unexpected indie hit with 2005's Alligator, a brooding assertive indie rock masterpiece which revealed itself only slowly. What at first listen seemed like strong, guitar-led rock gave up its extra layers on repeated listen. Trying too hard to follow up a success like Alligator could have produced Alligator 2, but The National have avoided that trap, and instead basked in their individuality.

The sound has been enriched with help from producers Peter Katis and Fred Kevorkian (producers of bands like Spoon, Interpol, and Ryan Adams), and there is a guest appearance from Sufjan Stevens. Boxer is still massively unpretentious, and smart and engaging, but the volume is turned down while the darkness is opened up with wry humour. The band's sound recalls Dirty Three and Tindersticks, but they are a whole heap less gimmicky. Boxer requires attention, but it is deeply engaging - it is a better album than Alligator. Whereas that album needed a couple of rockers to make an impression, its success has allowed its successor to stay true to their sound.


Mike Rea

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jonesy9020's picture


While I love Boxer, I think Alligator is a better album for the same reason you think Boxer is better.Boxer has no bad tracks, not even any indifferent ones, they're all awesome.And they're all incredibly depressing. Even the songs with somewhat happy lyrics just have a melancholy mood to them.Alligator, while not as consistent, has a few tracks that'll drag you outta the doom and gloom. And come on, you can't help but feel good after Mr. November. They're both great, but emotionally Alligator let's you keep your head above water, and that's why I love it.

6 years 3 months ago
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