There is nothing pretentious about the way Alligator reveals itself, nothing overbearing or confusing; it just slides by, always laughably good.
The National make music that is the sound of hanging out for too long in too many bars in Brooklyn, drinking and talking about all the bands that every really Mattered and trying to figure out how to place themselves in the discussion.
The National may sound like a garage band turned down, but there's as much primal energy lurking behind Alligator as in any mop-topped group of city kids with bloodstained Danelectros in a dusty warehouse.
Massed vocals and backing harmonies are two of the few things the National have added to their sound since their last album, and though Alligator is satisfying and engaging, it's not quite as bracing as their stellar sophomore outing, 2003's Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.
Musically, there’s a mix and match approach to much of Alligator that works quite well. The band excels at establishing a mood and then playing within the dynamics of the song to keep things constantly moving and fresh.
He spends the rest of this NYC band's third album rummaging among churning grooves and shambling New Wave rips, turning up depressed guitar poetry that's both elegantly wasted and kinda murky.
|# 61 -||NME (2000s)|
|# 220 -||NME Top 500 of All Time|
|# 40 -||Pitchfork (2000s)|
|# 74 -||Pitchfork: The People's List|