"Don't Swallow the Cap"

Brooklyn indie-rock sadsters the National are at their best when they remember to inject some rhythmic drama into their poetically moped-out music. And on this track from their upcoming sixth album (due May 21st), the National chunnel through a dark night of the soul like first-rate gloom-raiders. Drummer Bryan Devendorf's taut 4/4 pulse falls somewhere between krautrock and Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," with Aaron and Bryce Dessner's spare, lovely guitar and keyboards glancing off the beat like 3 a.m. streetlights reflected on black ice. "If you want to see me cry, play Let It Be or Nevermind," Matt Berninger sings in his elegant, luminous baritone. This song just might dampen some hankies as well.

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