The National - Anyone’s Ghost (4AD)
June 28th, 2010
With the aid of sparse acoustic guitar and delay pedal, The National have crafted a claustrophobic affair perfectly fitting the bleak imagery about the afterlife of a relationship and the recession into non-existence.
Anyone’s Ghost’s refusal to grow into anything more than a plaintive acoustic affair is to the band's credit, allowing the lyrics to be the focal point of the song. From the opening couplet ("# Say you stay at home alone with the flu/Find out from friends that wasn’t true #") the song's lyrics are remarkably good and although it’s not the finest track from the excellent High Violet, this is still a cut above your average lost-love song and probably the most radio-friendly effort from their latest long player, not that it’ll get any regular airplay.
"# You said I came close as anyone’s come #" is the realisation of almost getting things right, bandleader Matt Berninger painting a self-portrait of himself as the nearly man in the life pursuit for love, whereas the refrain "# I don’t want anybody else #" is the refusal to give up hope which often blinds the protagonists of a recently deceased romance. However, the standout line is when Berninger’s baritone resonates "# Go out at night with your headphones on, again/And walk the Manhattan valleys of the dead #", the best depiction of loneliness since Interpol wrote "# I spent a lifespan with no cellmate #". The National didn’t invent the rainy day, but they’ve come pretty close. A hauntingly honest track.
words: Ste Grindrod
The National are playing at Brighton's Corn Exchange (July 9) and the iTunes festival at London's Roundhouse (10). They return in November and December for a largely sold-out UK tour. Dates are as follows: O2 Academy, Bristol (Nov 24), Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry (25), O2 Academy, Glasgow (26), Academy 1, Manchester (27) and the Brixton Academy, London (Nov 30 and Dec 1).