Single Review: The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness // The National

There’s been a rather large National shaped hole in our hearts since 2013’s Trouble May Find Me, and, although single releases like Sunshine On My Back in 2015, and various side projects like Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf’s nothing-short-of-fantastic EL VY adventure have helped satiate our appetite a little, there’s nothing quite like the real deal, and, to be honest, we were starting to pine.

Imagine our elation then, when after two days of teasing viral ad campaigns and a palpable sense of anticipation online, it was announced today that The National’s 7th studio album Sleep Well Beast is forthcoming on 7 September, and, what’s more, that its lead single The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness had already emerged from its enigmatic online encasement.

The track is punctuated by the erratic guitar riff that was the focus of one of this week’s teasers, with choral harmonies opening for Berninger’s tones. The drums, when they kick in, are skittering and classically elusive, and Berninger’s lyricism is some of his neurotic, wistful best, but the star of the show is a rare, shredding guitar solo acting as the centrepiece of the song.

The National are set to embark on a world tour following the album’s release, with dates scheduled for Cork in Ireland as well as Manchester and London preceding the international legs, and Sleep Well Beast is available to pre-order here.

Make sure you check out our news piece from earlier today, or head over to for more info.

Author avatar
Ben Kitto

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