- Personnel: Richard Reed Parry (vocals, electric guitar, piano, double bass); Sufjan Stevens (vocals, harmonium); Justin Vernon, Laurel Sprengelmeyer, Marla Hansen (vocals); Bridget Kibbey (harp); Padma Newsome (violin, viola); Rob Moose (violin); Nadia Sirota (viola); Maria Jeffers (cello); Alexandra Sopp (flute, bass flute); Hideaki Aomori (clarinet, bass clarinet); Rachael Elliott (bassoon); Alex Hamlin (baritone saxophone); Kyle Resnick, CJ Camereri (trumpet); Jeremy Thal, Michael Atkinson (French horn); Tim Albright, Benjamin Lanz, Dave Nelson (trombone); Thomas Bartlett (piano, keyboards); Nico Muhly (celesta); Greg Chudzik (double bass); Thomas Kozumplik (percussion); Mads Christian Brauer (electronics).
- Audio Mixers: Greg Georgio; Peter Katis.
- Photographer: Keith Klenowski.
- After securing critical approval with albums like Alligator and Boxer, the National reprise their relationship with producer Peter Katis for the muscled, melancholic High Violet.
Rolling Stone (p.66) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The music is some of their lushest and darkest, especially the ghostly, droning 'Afraid of Everyone.'"
Spin - "[I]ncredibly seductive and impossibly cool....Even the catchy, perfect-world hit single 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' weds dusky grit to its sticky verses."
Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "The National are masters of a baroque and somber indie-rock subgenre...defined by dirgelike guitars and elegiac imagery." -- Grade: B+
Uncut (pp.78-79) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "At the peak moments of HIGH VIOLET, The National are magnificent. The transatlantic lament 'England' broods amid gloomy strings before erupting into the sort of ecstatic coda surely written in anticipation of being illuminated by the light of thousands of mobile phones..."
Uncut (p.36) - Ranked #14 in Uncut's "The 50 Best Albums of 2010" -- "[H]andled with a grandeur that posited them, belatedly, as their generation's very own R.E.M."
CMJ - "The National allows itself to lose a little control, but the music gains a more honest portrayal of the harried character of heartbreak."
Billboard (p.36) - "'Conversation 16' offers a bruising portrait of discontent over Bryan Devendorf's pounding drums....HIGH VIOLET synthesizes the best parts of the National's past into a fantastic present."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hey fill the erstwhile emptiness with distorting guitars, strings, brass, keyboards: an ambient tangle."
Paste (magazine) (p.80) - "The band's impeccably nuanced song-arranging instincts are one of their most remarkable gifts, and HIGH VIOLET certainly bolsters this reputation."
Pitchfork (Website) - "HIGH VIOLET is the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously....[With] anxious, personal songs projected onto wide screens..."
Clash (Magazine) - "[A] tight, no-nonsense follow-up....Bleak as you like, but strangely cathartic in many places."