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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Jan 18 > NATIONAL ANTHEMS

NATIONAL ANTHEMS

They’re the Firebirdwielding twins at the heart of one of the world’s biggest indie-rock bands, and on album seven they’ve embraced guitar solos. GARY WALKER meets The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner to talk about Sleep Well Beast…

They’ve just secured their first ever UK No 1 album, played to 80,000 people at Glastonbury Festival – in a surreal position on the bill between Katy Perry and the Foo Fighters – and embarked on another sold-out global tour. Two decades into their career, The National have steadily ascended to a position as one of the world’s biggest indie-rock bands. And their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, is at times both the most and least guitar-centric in the group’s catalogue.

The Ohio-via-Brooklyn band’s Firebird and stompbox loving twins, Bryce and Aaron Dessner, aren’t the typical rockguitar pairing. Conjuring the intricate sonic tapestries upon which frontman Matt Berninger layers his existential lyricism and doleful wine-soaked baritone, they trade in an understated brand of virtuosity, uninterested in revisiting wellworn rock ‘n’ roll clichés.

The Perfect Song

Sleep Well Beast is The National’s most experimental record to date, and their first to contain bona fide guitar solos. Indeed, on lead single The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness, they cut one of 2017’s most memorable guitar breaks – an outstanding moment on an album replete with glitchy electronic beats, shiftingtime signatures and orchestral stems fired through pedalboards.

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The polls are closed, the votes have been counted and in the new issue of The Guitar Magazine we reveal the winners of 2017’s Gear Of The Year awards, as chosen by you! But we’re not going to spoil the surprise just yet – to find out which products have won you’ll have to pick up a copy of this special collector’s edition and rip open the bag! Inside you’ll also find a stellar set of artist interviews as we catch up with Queen legend Brian May, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and indie darlings The National. We also put an incredible Eric Clapton-spec ES-335 under the microscope in Vintage Bench Test, bust a few myths about guitar cables, review new gear from the likes of Marshall, Fender and Lowden and whole lot more besides. Get your special collector’s edition of the January 2017 issue of The Guitar Magazine now!
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