Rock band The National has released a surprise second album called Laugh Track, which the band announced on September 15 while performing at their Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati.
The 12 song Laugh Track is a companion to and features material originally started in the same sessions as First Two Pages of Frankenstein, which was released by 4AD back in April.
The album is the band‘s most freewheeling, all-hands-on-deck album in years. If Frankenstein represented a rebuilding of trust between group members after 20+ years together, the vibrant, exploratory Laugh Track is both the product of that faith and a new statement of intent.
Reveling in the license to radically upend its creative process, The National honed most of this material in live performances on tour this year, and captured those invigorated versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio, Flora Recording & Playback.
The nearly eight-minute album closer “Smoke Detector” was recorded in June during a Vancouver soundcheck, completing a body of work bristling with spontaneity and vintage rock energy that makes a perfect complement to the songs found on its more introspective predecessor.
Also Laugh Track features guest appearances by Phoebe Bridgers and Rosanne Cash, as well as the Bon Iver collaboration “Weird Goodbyes,” which was released as a standalone track in August 2022.
““It felt like the story had already been told. It was its own thing.” says group member Aaron Dessner of the latter track. “But it also felt related to what we were doing. That was part of the logic for making another record — let’s give ‘Weird Goodbyes’ its own home.”
Laugh Track tracklist
- Alphabet City
- Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces)
- Weird Goodbyes (feat. Bon Iver)
- Turn Off the House
- Laugh Track (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
- Space Invader
- Coat on a Hook
- Tour Manager
- Crumble (feat. Rosanne Cash)
- Smoke Detector
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna