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Serpentine Prison Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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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: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  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. 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.
  4. Sep 30, 2020
    Serpentine Prison isn’t the drastic change of pace that many frontmen create when they do a project outside of their main band, but it does enough to justify itself as separate from The National’s catalog. At the same time, longtime fans of the group will undoubtedly feel at home here, too, while also admiring what Berninger does differently.
  5. Nov 9, 2020
    Serpentine Prison is not as self-assured as his two decades-long oeuvre with The National, or even that one album he made as EL VY with Knopf. But in this season of discontent, it’s a worthy exercise in bridging seemingly disparate musical worlds, long demarcated by the color line.
  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.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 29, 2020
    I could listen to Matt Berninger singing all day. "Serpentine Prison" lacks the intensity and the class of his mothership band The National,I could listen to Matt Berninger singing all day. "Serpentine Prison" lacks the intensity and the class of his mothership band The National, but his first solo outing is a good listen. Laid back stuff but really good songs. Berninger described this album as a collection of orphaned songs that slipped through the National net but they are certainly not left overs or throw away tracks. The assistance of Booker T Jones was an ace move and really brings an extra layer of authenticity to the soul/rhythm and blues that Berninger obviously had in mind. Expand