back in stock at a cheaper price. the national make sturdy american music, the sort of stuff that's built out of solid songs, radio-ready hooks, and tasteful, efficient arrangements. the cd's earnest, straight-ahead material is often country-flavoured, but it can also evoke '80's rock anthems. matt berninger sings of the heart's travails in a sensitive, manly way that recalls fellow romantics like nick cave and leonard cohen. he's equally adept at packing a slew of words into a single vocal phrase or milking a single word for dramatic effect. the guitar-bass-drums lineup is nicely abetted by the occasional piano line or synth flourish. there isn't room for surprise or eccentricity on this album; everything here is completely worked out and professionally crafted. but that's one reason this disc will appeal to people with a taste for well-made rock.