NEW YORK: The National on Sunday won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album for “Sleep Well Beast,” an intricately recorded album built from the band’s walls of dark sound.
It was the first Grammy for the indie rock band, in a field that included fellow critical favorites including LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire.
“Sleep Well Beast” marked the first album in four years by The National, which was born in Cincinnati and came to prominence in New York but whose members have dispersed around the world.
The National set up its own studio in the town of Hudson, the riverside artists’ hub north of New York, and experimented with sounds, bringing an improvisational feel that the band thought was lacking in its previous albums.
Guitarist and songwriter Bryce Dessner, who has gone on to a successful side career as a modern composer, said that the band wanted to give weight to every instrument and not stay stuck in a “sonic maelstrom.”
“We wanted to destroy what we’ve created until now. We needed to explore new paths,” Dessner told AFP when the album came out.
“Sleep Well Beast,” The National’s seventh album, is full of bleak undertones including on the album’s aggressive first single, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.”
The National, longtime supporters of the Democratic Party who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, also bring reflections on President Donald Trump’s election.
Thank you Recording Academy!!! pic.twitter.com/u2ePpqbNeM
— The National (@TheNational) January 28, 2018
The album includes a sample from journalist Ron Suskind who, speaking of former president George W. Bush, says that the power of the United States allows it to “create our own reality.”
The National was previously nominated for 2013’s “Trouble Will Find Me,” the group’s breakthrough album after which it became a major force on the international music festival circuit. -AFP