In preparation of The National's upcoming album, I Am Easy To Find — due out May 17 on 4AD — the band has issued another single, titled "Hairpin Turns."
Like every National single, it resonates at first as a melancholy, if droll, drama in medias res. "What is it you want me to be learning? We're always arguing about the same things," sighs Matt Berninger, contrite and tired. A looping electric guitar riff cycles through, a non-verbal signifier of the ceaseless back-and-forth. Then, a line so specific that it elevates "Hairpin Turns" into a great National single: "Days of brutalism and hairpin turns," a vivid descriptor that feels all too cutting.
It comes accompanied by a Mike Mills-directed video, a black-and-white affair with a minimal, intimate austerity. Showcasing the band, as well as vocalists Gail Ann Dorsey (who featured on "You Had Your Soul With You"), Mina Tindle and Kate Stables, the visual is tethered together by dancer Sharon Eyal — the unit's free-flowing orchestrator, and, according to Mills, "a continuation of Alicia Vikander's character from the film" that will accompany the album. The album version features Gail Ann Dorsey and Lisa Hannigan.
"The video is a very simple portrait of the band (and the friends who helped make the song) and the song itself: You see all the instruments that make up the song in isolation, even hear them recorded live on set over the album version, kind of like showing you the tracks that make up the song," writes Mills in a press release.
I Am Easy To Find is due out May 17 on 4AD.