Racing Like A Pro
Label: Beggars Banquet
The austere Boxer mixes rolling piano and Matt Berninger's brooding baritone for a sound that glistens with astute orchestral details. Along with piano appearances by Sufjan Stevens and backup vocals by Marla Hansen, a dense grouping of strings, horns, organs and upbeat drums give the National's melancholic tendencies a gale of vivaciousness. The album's overall milieu is established right from the opening track, "Fake Empire," a booming boxing match between gloomy rock and orchestral-pop jauntiness.