Album: The National, High Violet (4AD)

Simmy Richman
Sunday 09 May 2010 00:00 BST

Widescreen doom rock of the type beloved by beardy men who wear black and read the NME past their prime.

Naturally, this is already being talked up in such circles as an album of the year. It is a leap forward for the Brooklyn five-piece and Matt Berninger's baritone has never packed more heft. But there's still something about such gloomy fare that rings hollow in these ears: though "Afraid of Everyone" is a politically charged high point. Elsewhere, it sounds a bit like Jesus and Mary Chain and strives too hard to reach "epic" proportions.

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