The National: Are We Sure These Guys Aren’t British?

anthonyjmiccio | April 8, 2008 12:45 pm
Judging by the trailer for A Skin, A Night, an upcoming documentary about smoky NYC swoon rockers the National, the band sat around in either incredibly dark or blindingly bright rooms, scratching their eyes, clapping into microphones and drinking for over half a year while recording Boxer. “We’re very much in the middle of something…we don’t know where we’ll end up. Maybe the record will be the film.” Don’t you have to be British to be this dramatic? Especially if you sound like a more accessible Tindersticks?

What goes on in A Skin, A Night, though, is not the stuff of well-rehearsed insider history. Nor is it a series of rock’n’roll clichés. Nor is it specifically concerned with the making of The National’s fourth full-length album, Boxer, even though much of it was filmed during sessions for that record at Peter Katis’s Bridgeport, Connecticut studio. A Skin, A Night is less a movie about The National than a movie about how music is made today — not with classic rock bravado, or debauched indulgence, but through novelistic attention to detail, a collective implosion of personality, and worried worried nights.

….A Skin, A Night is a sixty-minute portrait of impressions, mutual affection, and intimate moments you’d never otherwise see. If The National’s lyrics seem to take us inside the human condition, Vincent Moon’s images take us outside, documenting the beauty of the sounds made by our human skin.

“The beauty of sounds made by our human skin,” Christ. I guarantee these guys will be working with Eno and/or Lanois within the next decade. Failing that, Steve Lillywhite.

A Skin, A Night – a film about THE NATIONAL & a new EP [Brooklyn Vegan]