The National released an unannounced album today that surprised everyone

The NationalThe National today (September 18) released a surprise album, his second studio release of the year under the title „Laugh Track“. The band announced it for the first time on Friday evening (15.09.), during a performance at their venue Homecoming Festivalu in his native Cincinnati (Cincinnati).

Twelve new songs were created during the same studio sessions as the songs from their ninth studio album „First Two Pages of Frankenstein“, released in April this year, for the 4AD publishing house. On this occasion, the band confirmed additional dates for their American tour this fall, as well as Australian shows in the spring of 2024, with the support of longtime friends Fleet Foxes.

„Laugh Track“ is their most free album in the last few years, created with wholehearted joint effort and engagement. If “FTPOF” represented a rebuilding of trust among group members, after more than 20 years of working together, the lively, exploratory Laugh Track“ it is a product of that faith and a new declaration of future intention. Enjoying permission to radically advance his creative process, The National honed much of this material in live performances on this year’s tour and recorded those beefed-up versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Flora Recording & Playback studio in Portland. The nearly eight-minute finale ‘Smoke Detector’ was recorded in June this year during a sound rehearsal of a concert in Vancouver, thus completing an opus full of spontaneity and vintage rock energy, which perfectly complements the songs from its more introspective predecessor.

On the album Laugh Track“ features and guest appearances by Phoebe Bridgers and Rosanne Cash, and there’s also a song “Weird Goodbyes’s” made in collaboration with Bon Iver, released as an independent single in August 2022.

“It felt like the story had already been told. It was a separate thing, but at the same time it felt connected to what we were doing. That was also part of the rationale for making another record – let’s give ‘Weird Goodbyes’ its own home.” – says Aaron Dessner.

There was another side to the story in the unfinished songs, which went far beyond the blandness of the “FTPOF” album. Over the years, Aaron admits The National often gave up on big ideas to make a rock album:

It’s not because we don’t enjoy sitting in a room and brainstorming ideas. But it wasn’t that productive, so we developed a pretty elaborate way of creating songs where it is [bubnjar] Bryan [Devendorf] had a very important but divided role. This time we wanted to make something more lively, so that Bryan’s playing would be more of a driving force for the rest.

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