The first time I saw The National was 2006 at a show about which my colleague Noah would later write, (I'm paraphrasing) "It was hard to tell if your phone was vibrating in your pocket or if the sound was shaking your body." This was vastly prior to the meditative and NPR-approved record Boxer. In 2005 the band was hungry and touring on Alligator, entirely as pissed off as indie rock would let itself be. Fast-forward to 2008; audiences were paying 30-bucks a ticket to see "Start A War" and the band was sort of swimming through their catalogue, almost sedated, until they closed with "Mr. November." For those of us who knew a different band, a band with more soul or maybe more pain, this version seemed tame.
Back with "Bloodbuzz Ohio" off High Violet, the band is literally discussing a return of sorts. In this case, a magically-real (via "a swarm of bees?") return to the land of Ohio where they wrote their earliest records, where they wrote parts of Alligator. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" falls somewhere between "Brainy" and "Mistaken For Strangers," two songs that are recognizably off the album that not 50 words ago I accused of being tame and predictable. But, perhaps this goes further or takes the dark jag that the band so vehemently discussed. "Bloodbuzz" is the sonic undeniability of a band with a limited range, but what they do, they do undeniably well. Suffice it to say, until we see the tour, the nation should set their phone on permanent vibrate for you.
Listen :: The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio"