Albums to watch

Sleep Well Beast

The National

Sleep Well Beast

Album number seven from the Ohio indie rock band recorded in Aaron Dessner's home studio

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  1. 10.0 |   The Independent

    Musically, electronic influences are creeping in and the songs are more richly, thoughtfully layered than ever, no doubt a result of guitarist Bryce Dessner's forays into film composing
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  2. 10.0 |   A.V. Club

    In spite of how quiet it can be, and what the title might instruct, Sleep Well Beast is never restful. In fact, it may be The National’s most agitated album yet
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  3. 9.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    The National return with a sprawling and adventurous new album that holds up to their legendary career
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  4. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    Finds the National snapping out of the comfortable groove they’ve settled in over the last decade, fuelled by strife, battle-tested wisdom, and a touch of righteousness
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  5. 9.0 |   Under The Radar

    The band's best album since Boxer, and will stand as one of the year's best
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  6. 9.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    One of Sleep Well Beast’s greatest accomplishments is its convincing and seamless integration of acoustic and electronic instruments
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  7. 9.0 |   The Digital Fix

    Sombre, uplifting, groovy, and rocking. Pretty much ticks all the boxes
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  8. 8.5 |   The 405

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. To my mind it’s the best National album since Boxer; and for argument’s sake, Devendorf’s drumming hasn’t been this vital for ten years
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  9. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Sleep Well Beast certainly takes the air out of the hopeful balloon that swelled on Trouble Will Find Me, but if there’s ever been a time to wallow in lush, masculine melancholy, it’s now. This beast isn’t going anywhere
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  10. 8.2 |   Gig Soup

    Dark and hugely personal, 'Sleep Well Beast' is an album of depth both musically and lyrically - it's a record that requires dedication to fully appreciate but it's a time investment well worth making
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  11. 8.2 |   Earbuddy

    Perhaps they have ended one phase of their career, and are about to go boldly into the world of post-adulthood-sad-sack rock
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  12. 8.0 |   Clash

    The National have yet again made an album that’s as brilliant as it is ambitious
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  13. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Lyrically and sonically, the National's seventh LP plumbs anxieties more deeply than ever. The result is a disarmingly potent album, not just emotionally but politically as well
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  14. 8.0 |   State

    By fusing their inherent indie rock characteristics with an innovative approach, The National simultaneously deliver an accomplished, quality record and lay the groundwork for a fascinating future path
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  15. 8.0 |   Crack

    Succeeds in pushing past the narcissisms and ironies of their previous album Trouble Will Find Me into a more expansive realm of abstract thought
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  16. 8.0 |   musicOMH

    As sad a record as The National have ever made, and yet it also feels like their most hopeful
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  17. 8.0 |   The Music

    Some will still use this album as background music for the dinner party with their hip(per) friends, but immersing yourself in it reveals its real emotional depths
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  18. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Is this The National’s greatest moment? Probably not. With a back catalogue that takes in releases like Boxer and 2013’s wonderful Trouble Will Find Me there’s a crowded field of competition. Is it a worthy addition to their canon, though? Absolutely
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  19. 8.0 |   Uncut

    An aquatic, slow-moving work, rich with melancholic atmosphere. Print edition only

  20. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Generally less overtly guitar based, with a lot of activity going on under the surface. Print edition only

  21. 8.0 |   Q

    The mood remains one of grown-up regret and quiet anxiety. Print edition only

  22. 8.0 |   All Music

    Electronics are used for texture and shade, vocal harmonies glide through the mix, pianos anchor a couple of tunes - all subtle gradients within the National's recognizable formula, but they're enough to give Sleep Well Beast a distinct character
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  23. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    Isn’t entirely discontinuous from the albums before it, but what it chooses to change and emphasize makes all the difference
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  24. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Overall The National have survived their electronic ring of fire relatively unscathed
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  25. 8.0 |   Pitchfork

    It is full of abandon and quiet contemplation as Matt Berninger sings not about how to enjoy life, but how to simply endure it
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  26. 8.0 |   No Ripcord

    Even if Sleep Well Beast is tinged with a deep sense of melancholy, partially due to Berninger’s tendency to read endlessly into things, The National never render too obscure for the sake of appearing more detached
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  27. 8.0 |   God Is In The TV

    Seven albums in and The National are no nearer to discovering happiness and thank The Lord for that small mercy
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  28. 8.0 |   NME

    Seven albums in, The National have become our premier doomsayers
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  29. 8.0 |   DIY

    The National are as vital as ever
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  30. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    Sleep Well Beast is The National firing on all cylinders, battery fully charged, tyres pumped – and with shades on to hide the bruising caused by loss of love
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  31. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Less fury at the dying of the light and more eye-rolling at a life partner, as the National tackle middle age with a novelist’s sense of atmosphere
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  32. 8.0 |   American Songwriter

    The National slays it here and stays on top of the rock world in the process
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  33. 7.7 |   Paste Magazine

    Sleep Well Beast is anything but complacent and it doesn’t skew from the high-caliber rock and roll the band has been producing since day one
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  34. 7.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    This isn’t The National’s finest album but there’s much to cherish on Sleep Well Beast. And it really matters that a band as capable of thoughtful, intimate commentary (both personal and political) are as big as The National are now
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  35. 7.0 |   Slant Magazine

    The National continues to display highly polished craftsmanship of simmering balladry on Sleep Well Beast
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  36. 7.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    An eloquent reminder that The National still do despondency more elegantly than anyone else
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  37. 7.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    A pretty, well-produced National album
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  38. 7.0 |   Exclaim

    Clearly, the National aren't out of new ideas yet
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