The National’s I Am Easy to Find Has a Beauty Worth Uncovering

Spin - 05-17

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Initially, the National’s I Am Easy to Find feels like the band’s dull middlebrow fuckup, twelve years after Matt Berninger muttered that about himself on “Squalor Victoria”. Sixty-three minutes of electronic ballads with a 24-minute black-and-white short film attached sounds uncharacteristically pretentious for a band that once kept its records at manageable lengths and its avant-garde indulgences limited to various non-album extracurriculars. I Am Easy to Find began as a collection of outtakes from 2017’s Sleep Well Beast, cobbling them together into a project that even the press release calls “ungainly.” At first glance, it definitely sounds like a record of outtakes, even if the band’s b-sides are is good in their own right. With its somnambulant pacing and few immediate standouts, the album may test hardcore fans’ loyalty and casual fans’ patience, locking out newcomers altogether.