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Serpentine Prison Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critic Reviews What's this?

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  • Summary: The debut full-length solo release for The National's frontman was recorded over 14 days with producer Booker T. Jones.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Sep 30, 2020
    It’s a stunning record – from the album artwork down to the perfectly-weighted running order, nothing is out of place and nothing jars. Matt Berninger didn’t want to write a solo record. But thank god he did.
  2. 85
    The echoes of his home band are clear, but there’s also an underlying feeling of something greater at play - the proof that he can cut it as a name as much as he can a band, and Serpentine Prison is Matt Berninger’s artistic truth and joy.
  3. Uncut
    Sep 30, 2020
    Though less avidly adventurous than his band's recent outings (or his own past activities with EL VY), the music here may be stronger for it. [Nov 2020, p.27]
  4. 80
    Sure, it rests in a lot of the sonic territory of The National, and this isn’t the departure that his peppy indie-pop side-project EL VY represents, but what we do have is an intimate and generous offering from one of 21st Century rock’s most prominent voices.
  5. Oct 15, 2020
    It’s tempting as ever with Berninger’s work to let it do its slow burn thing, and while repeated listens are far from unrewarding or unpleasant, the depth doesn’t feel quite as vast as what we have come to expect. Still, there’s no doubting that Berninger fans new and old will welcome the album and embrace it too.
  6. Oct 15, 2020
    Taken together, it's a sequestered, rainy Sunday type of album with flawed, world-weary vocal performances that are laid bare by such impressionistic accompaniment.
  7. Oct 12, 2020
    While Serpentine Prison may invoke familiar accusations of dullness, it’s refreshing to hear Berninger’s disaffected songwriting style take on a more grown-up perspective.

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