Listen to The National’s surprise new album ‘Laugh Track’

The National have released their surprise new album ‘Laugh Track‘. Check it out below.

Announced at the weekend at the band’s own Homecoming Festival, the band’s ninth album comes in quick succession off the back of April’s acclaimed ‘First Two Pages of Frankenstein’. The companion record features the same young boy from the predecessor’s album artwork, albeit colourised and in a living room setting.

Featuring recent singles ‘Space Invader’ and ‘Alphabet City’, along with a re-recorded version of Bon Iver collaboration ‘Weird Goodbyes’, the 12-track record features material originally started in the same sessions as ‘First Two Pages of Frankenstein’ – before being “honed in live performances on tour this year” before being captured in “impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio, Flora Recording & Playback”.


Phoebe Bridgers returns to feature on the title track, while Rosanne Cash lends guest vocals to penultimate track ‘Crumble. The nearly eight-minute album closer ‘Smoke Detector’ was recorded in June during a Vancouver soundcheck.

Speaking of the more spontaneous and invigorated method of putting the album together, guitarist Aaron Dessner said: “It’s not because we don’t enjoy sitting in a room banging around ideas. It’s just that it wasn’t that productive, so we developed a fairly elaborate way of building songs in which [drummer] Bryan [Devendorf] had a very important but compartmentalized role. This time we had the desire to make something that was more alive so that Bryan’s playing would drive more.”

Lyrically, themes of frontman Matt Berninger’s struggles with writer’s block and returning from the brink are still present, albeit with more acceptance.

“Let’s just turn everything off and walk away,” said Berninger. “Bail out of your head, of all the things you’re worried about, your career, your whole identity, how strong you thought you were.”


In a four-star review of the album, NME concluded of ‘Laugh Track’: “The tightness of ‘First Two Pages…’’s singles like ‘Tropic Morning News’ and ‘Eucalyptus’ are somewhat absent, though the looser structures and decision to allow the songs room to grow, melodically and lyrically pays off. In a statement shared with the record, Berninger says the period ‘feels like the shedding of a skin’ and the band walk into the unknown once again for their next creative cycle: a thrilling new chapter will surely emerge.”

The ‘Laugh Track’ tracklist is:

‘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’

The National
Credit: Graham MacIndoe

The band’s remaining tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information on UK and Ireland shows, here for the US and here for Australia.

21 – Dublin, IRE – 3 Arena *
23 – Leeds, UK – First Direct Arena *
24 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro Arena *
26 – London, UK – Alexandra Palace * 
27 – London, UK – Alexandra Palace * 
29 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome ^ 
30 – Berlin, DE – Max-Schmeling-Halle ^ 
1 – Munich, DE – Zenith ^
4 – Madrid, ES – WiZink Center ^
5 – Porto, PT – Super Bock Arena ^ 
6 – Lisbon, PT – Campo Pequeno ^ 
7 – Lisbon, PT – Campo Pequeno ^
10 – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium %
11 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre %
13 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre %
14 – Albuquerque, NM – Kiva Auditorium %
16 – Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Theater %
17 – Austin, TX – Moody Center %
18 – Houston, TX – Lawn at White Oak % 
19 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory %
28, 2024 – Brisbane, Australia – Riverstage ~ )
MARCH 2024
1 – Sydney, Australia – Aware Super Theatre ~ )
5 – Melbourne, Australia – Sidney Myer Music Bowl ~ )
9 – Perth, Australia – Kings Park & Botanic Garden ~ )

*Soccer Mommy
^ Bartees Strange
% Hand Habits
~ Very Special Guests Fleet Foxes
) Annie Hamilton