First listen take
It’s good. Feels a lot like Boxer with some warmer textures. Lovely opening and really love how it circles back on themes of marriage, not necessarily in peril, but coasting along and how sad that can be. A number of highlights including “The System Only Dreams” which I would say is top 10 National songs, the opener and “Walk It Back” which works a lot better in context of the LP.
Again, only a first listen so undoubtedly gonna grow on me but there’s nothing that’s really hit me in the same way as the high watermarks of their last two albums (other than perhaps “System…” which I absolutely adore (TWFM is their most underrated IMO). I kinda wish they’d pushed the gurgling electronics a bit more too. When they appear they’re really effective and I reckon there was room for more. Also, whilst quite pretty, “Dark Side Of The Gym” is a “Sleepwalk” rip that meanders along quite a bit.