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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

The National is a five-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn. Their newest recording uses lush strings, clunky, old pianos and assorted brass instruments to create odd, image-rich, nighttime music. The album is called simply "Boxer."

And Tom Moon has a review.

TOM MOON: The National makes songs that have little art movies(ph) going on inside them. It's easy to imagine the visuals for this one. A stormy night in the city, a guy mumbling into a phone, his voice so low, it's almost creepy, about how it's too soon to break off the romance.

(Soundbite of music)

MOON: Matt Berninger, the singer and lyricist for The National says that when the band started work on this album, he tried to move away from the dark themes that dominated its last work. He wrote about what he and his bandmates who began playing in Cincinnati years ago were experiencing. They'd been touring for what seemed like forever and felt disconnected from friends and family. Even that came out kind of spooky.

(Soundbite of "Green Glove")

Mr. MATT BERNINGER (Singer, The National): (Singing) Falling out of touch with all my friends are somewhere getting wasted, hope they're staying glued together, I have arms for them.

MOON: Berninger came to the conclusion that he's just not cut out for songs with happy endings, so he avoided endings altogether. Instead, he focused on the obsessions and insecurities that are often hidden beneath the surface. Several tunes look at life from the perspective of a hard-partying 20 something who's coming to grips with growing up.

(Soundbite of "Racing Like A Pro")

Mr. BERNINGER: (Singing) You're pink, you're young, you're middle class. They say it doesn't matter. Fifteen blue shirts and womanly hands. You're shooting up the ladder.

MOON: The musicians of The National surround Berninger's metaphors with military-march drums and funeral-dirge strings, and guitars that hover like threatening clouds. It adds up to a shadowy, cinema noir music that's hypnotic and slightly unsettling at the same time.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: The latest album from The National is called "Boxer." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

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