This week marks the grand return of the National, the moody kings of indie rock. On Friday, they will release I Am Easy To Find, a new album that’s heavy with collaborations. And earlier this week, they dropped a short film, also titled I Am Easy To Find, directed by Mike Mills and starring Alicia Vikander. And the noisily tasteful rollout continued last night with a performance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, the late-night program that’s probably most in line with the National’s whole aesthetic.
The band made their late-night performance as grand as they could. They performed “You Had Your Soul With You,” the first single from I Am Easy To Find. On the album, the song features vocals from Gail Ann Dorsey, the longtime David Bowie collaborator. Dorsey didn’t join the National on Colbert, but they did have help in the form of two backup singers and an entire string section.
The National are, of course, prestige TV’s favorite band, and their brooding prettiness always comes through whenever they’re granted a platform. A late-night TV show will never have the ambience or intensity of an actual National live show, but they made sure the layers of sound and the considered songwriting choices all came though loud and clear in last night’s performance. Watch it below.
I Am Easy To Find is out 5/17 on 4AD.