The National: Running Through The Woods

“It’s kind of a cliché, but bands are all about the alchemy of individuals,” says Bryce Dessner.

[caption id="attachment_194019" align="aligncenter" width="900"] From L to R: Scott Devendorf, Bryce Dessner, Matt Berninger, Bryan Devendorf, Aaron Dessner. Photo by Graham MacIndoe[/caption] The National wanted to go home. For the past three-plus years, the band had been working in studios all over the world — in Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, and upstate New York — on the long-awaited follow-up to its 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me, which firmly established the dour indie rock band as an internationally successful arena-rock outfit. The quintet was wrapping up its second to last day at guitarist Aaron Dessner’s newly built home studio in Hudson, New York, when Matt Berninger, the band’s lead singer and lyricist, received a phone call. On the other end was his wife Carin Besser, a literary editor who plays a large role in sculpting, editing, and occasionally contributing to her husband’s lyrics. Up to that point, the entire band had been feeling less than thrilled with the lyrics to one of its songs, whose chorus went something like this: “Aaron takes his acid trip in Copenhagen/ Says he wants to stay that way/ But he can’t explain it any other way.” Besser had a solution. She had found an…

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