“I wish that I could rise above it / But I stay down with my demons,” Matt Berninger sings on the album's first single, “Demons.” The songs are still deeply quotable, with lyrics destined to overlay filtered nature photos on Tumblr. “I don't need any help to be breakable, believe me.”
But The National are not afraid of what they are. Afterall, they played their song “Sorrow” for six straight hours at MoMA's PS1. So it's no wonder that Trouble Will Find Me feels like it all comes very naturally and beautifully. Knee-jerk reactions against this kind of outpouring of emotion are calmed by lovely arrangements. “Sea of Love,” with it's chugging rhythms, swelling choruses and vocal back-and-forth, is some of The Nationals best work. It has the power to convert you to cult of emotion.
The National brought in a little help from Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) and Sharon Von Etten, but it's so subtle you could easily miss it. Stevens contributes on drum machines in a couple places, while the ladies pitch in some light vocals. It's the tried and true model for The National. Nothing is ever too flashy or trendy. Crushing emotions aside, it's all pretty understated.
It's very good that way and Trouble Will Find Me is a shining example of why indie rock doesn't have to reach too far to be good.