High Violet, the new full-length record by The National, is a nervy, melodic, explosive and beautiful set of songs that finds the band at the height of their collaborative powers. The music is wide-ranging in its moods, by turns intimate and rough, expansive and spare, full of atmosphere. Matt Berninger's singing: wild, half-broken and sly evokes a feeling of being haunted, by love, paranoia and something just out of reach. High Violet may be The National's most thematically twisted record to date but it also manages to be their most infectious and immediate.
…The National rarely miss; when they aim for powerful or poetic, they get there. High Violet is the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously, and they play the part so fully that, to some, it may be off-putting. But these aren't mawkish, empty gestures; they're anxious, personal songs projected onto wide screens. Even if you don't consider yourself an upwardly mobile stiff with minor social anxiety, the National make it sound grand, confusing, and relatable.
--Andrew Gaerig, Pitchfork Best New Music, May 10, 2010
Darker and more introspectively brooding than ever, in places it’s the most immediate National effort since their overlooked eponymous debut. Sidestepping studio sterility, it’s imbued with crackling vivacity that’s unusual for a band at this stage in their careers. It’s apparent straightaway in the hum of opener ‘Terrible Love’, where aching harmonies swarm around trademark percussive crescendos and subtly arranged orchestral splendor.
--Adam Kennedy, New Music Express, May 7, 2010
1. Terrible Love
3. Anyone's Ghost
4. Little Faith
5. Afraid of Everyone
6. Bloodbuzz Ohio
9. Conversation 16
11. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks