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The National | Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (Talitres)
The National's second album can be described just by reading its title. For a more detailed explanation, try song titles such as Slipping Husband, Murder Me Rachael, Sugar Wife, Trophy Wife and Lucky You. For those out there who like to know the smallest of details, have some sample lyrics: "Murder me Rachael, I made a mistake... I saw my love with pretty boy so say goodbye to pretty boy... tomorrow won't be pretty." "Tonight," Matt Berninger mutters on Patterns of Fairytales, "there isn't any light under your door. I guess you must be somewhere, breathing in patterns unfamiliar to the one you're underneath."
If a place exists for people like this, then Arab Strap probably already live there, next door to the Cincinnati five-piece. If you love the orchestration of Tindersticks, you'll enjoy this album. If you enjoyed the uncompromising guitar work of Interpol's 'Turn On The Bright Lights', you'll enjoy this album (the bands share a co-producer). If Nick Cave rocking out does it for you, you'll enjoy this album. This is, quite simply, a breathtaking album of teeth-gritting American country rock. For the sheer darkness, malice and melancholy flowing from the dozen tracks of 'Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers', you have reason enough to love it.

Chris Horkan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003