It’s not every day The National releases new music. In fact, before this year we haven’t had new music from the indie rockers since 2013’s full-length Trouble Will Find Me. But 2017, it seems, is the year for revivals, and here we are again with another new track from the band’s upcoming album Sleep Well Beast.
The new track, Guilty Party, follows The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – the first single from the new record that was released back in May – and is a stunning (almost) 6 minute masterpiece that brings about all the emotions that we’ve come to expect from The National. The track precedes a real ‘Guilty Party’ that will be hosted by the band at a non-profit multidisciplinary arts centre in Hudson, New York – Basilica Hudson – this July. Proceeds from the tickets will be donated to the centre, showing what true philanthropists The National are, and not for the first time either. Previous charitable acts have seen portions of ticket sales going towards various American foundations, as well as hosting dedicated benefit concerts over the course of their long career. It’s clear to see that they hope to achieve far more than simply making spellbinding music.
There will be a live projection that will accompany the event, which has been contributed by video artist Casey Reas, who has also directed the magnificent music video for Guilty Party – a true masterpiece that adds a layer to the song that creates even more meaning and forces you to feel even more. As I listen and as I watch, I am calm, I am sad, and I forgive myself for things I didn’t even know had me writhing in guilt.
“The video is a dream about memory and the degradation of memory; it’s about distance in time and space. Time moves forward, but then backward as memory. The image of the two-faced Roman god Janus, who can look into the past and future, is the core visual language.”
The band’s live shows incite emotion like no other band, and while I’ve only been fortunate enough to experience one of their iconic gigs once, it was an opportunity whose memories still ignite a certain fire inside me that very few bands can maintain such a long time away.
To put it simply: The National are fucking amazing.
The rest of the world is lucky enough to have had dates announced for The National’s world tour that kicks off this September, and while no dates have yet been announced for our corner of the world, if we all cross our fingers and wish really, really hard, it might not be too long before we are lucky enough to see Matt Berninger and co. in the flesh once more.
In the mean time, I’ll be watching the music video on repeat and crying.