National, The - Laugh Track

Regular price $ 44.99

Arriving swiftly on the heels of First Two Pages of Frankenstein, Laugh Track is indeed a companion record to its 2023 cousin, boasting similar cover art and containing songs written -- but not necessarily recorded -- during those same sessions. Given those overt similarities, it's not a surprise that Laugh Track often sounds like a continuation of Frankenstein, tilling the same meditative ground and generating similarly nuanced results. The National remains fascinated by the consoling power of stillness, operating at a low hum that allows space for Matt Berninger to ruminate as the band searches for variations of texture within cycling chords. Laugh Track isn't quite as tightly controlled as Frankenstein, often for the record's benefit. Some of this creeping loosening is due to collaborators who make their presence known: "Weird Goodbyes" occupies the slight liminal space separating the National and Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers provides a forceful counterpoint on "Laugh Track," and Rosanne Cash's harmonies and bridge on "Crumble" tease out its plaintive heartbreak. The rest of Laugh Track simmers at a precisely modulated temperature, bringing the songs to warmth slowly and steadily, which makes the ragged drone of the closing "Smoke Detector" so welcome: its insistent pulse and maze of guitars feel full-blooded and messy in a way the National has avoided for a long, long time.

2xLP on Clear Pink Vinyl

1 Alphabet City 3:44
2 Deep End (Paul's in Pieces) 4:29
3 Weird Goodbyes 5:03
     feat. Bon Iver
4 Turn Off the House 4:35
5 Dreaming 3:47
6 Laugh Track 4:24
     feat. Phoebe Bridgers
7 Space Invader 6:58
8 Hornets 4:35
9 Coat on a Hook 4:58
10 Tour Manager 4:27
11 Crumble 4:35
     feat. Rosanne Cash
12 Smoke Detector 7:47