The National Laugh Track Vinyl LP Pink Colour 2023
The National’s surprise second offering of 2023 feels like a highlight reel album, pulling together all the band’s finest musical moments from across their entire catalogue. Unlike its more somber and subdued April predecessor [First Two Pages of Frankenstein], Laugh Track invites the return of Bryan Devendorf to a full drumkit and creates the space for his distinctive drumming style to shine through in true National fashion (see: ‘Dreaming’, ‘Deep End’ and ‘Space Invader’). Each track also contains a warm and familiar feeling - positively reminiscent of other National songs, making it easy to instantly feel at home with this gorgeous album and its cast of incredible guests: Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver and Rosanna Cash. Where the lyrical content grows darker, the instrumentation and musical arrangements feel lighter on this album than they would’ve been on 2017’s ‘Sleep Well Beast’ or 2019’s ‘I am Easy to Find’, for example. Highlights: ‘Laugh Track (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)’ & ‘Hornets’ (this album’s answer to ‘Carin at the Liqor Store’).
- Alphabet City
- Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces)
- Weird Goodbyes feat. Bon Iver
- Turn off the House
- Laugh Track feat. Phoebe Bridgers
- Space Invader
- Coat on a Hook
- Tour Manager
- Crumble feat. Rosanne Cash
- Smoke Detector
The surprise companion to The National's April release First Two Pages of Frankenstein, Laugh Track is the band's most freewheeling, all-hands-on-deck album in years. If Frankenstein represented a rebuilding of trust between group members after 20+ years together, the vibrant, exploratory Laugh Track is both the product of that faith and a new statement of intent. Reveling in the license to radically upend its creative process, The National honed most of this material in live performances on tour, and captured those invigorated versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio. Two nights later in Vancouver, the nearly eight-minute album closer “Smoke Detector” was recorded during soundcheck, completing a body of work bristling with spontaneity and vintage rock energy that makes a perfect complement to the songs found on its more introspective predecessor.