The National

The National

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    8
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This Ohio-based band strikes a lush, adorable balance between the country-pop of bands such as Jayhawks and Golden Smog and the gloomy, depressing crooning of Tom Waits. Lead singer Matt Berninger manages to transcend leveling the fine background with some reflection and introspection on "Cold Girl Fever" and "Watching You Well." The country hues touched on in "American Mary" are only surpassed by the album's perfect song "Theory of the Crows," a morbid waltz through loneliness and loss. Throughout it all, the band manages not only to exceed their pigeonholed genres but gives a fresh perspective with brilliantly crafted numbers. Starting up where Wilco left off with their Summerteeth album, the group delivers a generous heaping of Americana and alt-country. Brilliant.

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