From 2001’s self-titled debut to 2013’s 'Trouble Will Find Me', The National are one of a very few acts to have a pretty much perfect track record, something that I'm sure will continue with their upcoming seventh album.
Frontman Matt Berninger has confirmed that work is already underway on it, telling NME: “We did a camp out retreat in New York a couple of months ago, and we’re having another one in LA in a few weeks.
“We have 30 sketches of songs so far.”
The songs are apparently going under working titles taken from various towns in upstate New York, and while they may be different by the time they form an album, this - coupled with its inception in New York - might say something as to the mood of the album.
The band employed a similar naming method on previous albums.
"Before, he’s named them after things like civil wars. All the songs that turned into ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ were named after children of our friends,” guitarist Aaron Dessner said.
This seventh album sees the band attempt to actually write together in the same room for the first time.
"We're talking about getting together, which won't be until about October, taking a little break and then getting together to try and write together in a room - which we've never done," Berninger told Gigwise last year. "We always work on little things and email back and forth. We have no idea whether it's going to work or not, but that's as far as we've got with the new record: trying to work out a plan and a different approach.
"That might fail miserably, but then we'll try it a different way.”
The National’s sound has matured but never dramatically changed; the result of them intentionally not aiming for a certain style on each new record.
Asked if they had an idea of what the new record would sound like, Berninger said: ”No, not really. Everybody's been talking about it and people have different ideas about what kind of record they want to make. But every time we all talk about that, it never helps anyone figure it out. It's never a very good creative catalyst to say 'I'm going to make this kind of record'. It's never been that helpful for me at least, let's just wait to see where things go organically and naturally.”
Berninger is currently also working on a side project with Ramona Fall’s Brent Knopf called EL VY. A debut album is coming on 30 October with a tour to follow.