The National, ‘Sleep Well Beast’


Aidin Vaziri | The National shakes off its perpetual 3 a.m. slumber on “Sleep Well Beast,” the group’s seventh studio recording and its most animated yet. Fueled by singer Matt Berninger’s recent enthusiasm for California’s lax marijuana laws, his involvement in the slightly funky side project El Vy and the impending doom brought on by the current political climate, the dapper quintet cuts loose and embraces its inner Radiohead. Touches of disco, brass and glitch-laden synths seep into songs like “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” and “I’ll Still Destroy You,” while the title track seems to simultaneously disintegrate as it grows louder. Not everybody will be on board with the band tearing off the cobwebs, but there’s no denying the National sounds reinvigorated.