“The National are one of the most underrated bands of the year, an awesome mix of woozy rock and spectacularly pointed and universal lyrics that knock your breath out and make you smile.” Jo Vallance

“Produced by Peter Katis (Interpol,Spoon), 'Boxer' certainly resembles the work of the two artists, but is wonderfully individual. This album is a piece of musical brilliance. I really can't say enough good things about it,” R13 reviewer Simon Harrington on the National’s 2007 release ‘The Boxer’. Read his review

‘The Boxer’ was released on May 21, with the National making a short trip to the UK the same week to play a show at the London Astoria, as well as an in store gig at one of the central London Fopp shops.

The band also made a brief press visit in April to promote the new album, and we took our turn to fire a few questions in their direction, for example, with the new record did they feel any pressure to live up to the success of previous albums like 'Alligator’?

Matt Berninger told us “it's almost impossible to think like that; there's 5 of us in the band and we have enough pressure trying to satisfy our own goals so to add in another level of thinking about what people are going to say, how people outside are going to react, if that were possible I wouldn't even know how to do it that way. We tried not to produce another 'Alligator', because that wouldn't be exciting for us. Even if we tried to produce another 'Alligator', I don't know how we'd have gone about doing it.”

On the sound progression he added: “it's a more meditative side I think. 'Boxer' is more of a boat ride than 'Alligator'. It wasn't intentional at all, I think we just stood back and listened to it with a perspective and realised that, "Oh yeah, it's very different to 'Alligator'". We didn't think about 'Alligator' when we were making it.”

As well as their May dates in London, the tour schedule around the release of ‘The Boxer’ saw them play Latitude Festival in Suffolk (July) and tour with Latitude headliner Arcade Fire.

On festivals Matt said: “it's a tough thing, most bands would prefer an indoor, smaller venue; festivals are cool but I would prefer people to see us indoors at night where they can really connect with what we're doing. Out of 10000 people in a field, maybe only 1000 people can really be touched by the music and the others are just enjoying themselves.”

And Arcade Fire: “it's going to be really, really nice, the press won't be on us which will be fun, we'll get to play for 40 minutes and then go and see Arcade Fire! I think that they're very nice people and I think we're going to have a good time, we're really looking forward to it.”

Click here to read the rest of that interview, where Matt also touches on life as a New Yorker, what visiting London is like and the books that mean a lot to him.

Room Thirteen editor Jo Vallance is a rather big fan of this lot, describing their
Latitude performance as “A Triumphant Show.” She continues “the tunes from The National’s latest album, 'Boxer' are undoubtedly the kind that resonate most when you're by yourself, especially in the car at night, but the band pick a set that is also especially powerful and whips up quite a crowd at the Obelisk Stage.”

She also caught their autumn show in Glasgow, with the review

Offering a reason as to why this band are so special, and why they deserve to be listed in our bands of 2007, she says “The National are epic for their ability to make you look inside yourself and like what you see for all its quirks.”

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