MATT BERNINGER OF THE NATIONAL’S DEBUT SOLO RECORD SERPENTINE PRISON OUT NOW ON BOOK’S RECORDS
PRODUCED BY BOOKER T. JONES
BERNINGER TO PERFORM ON
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT
AND CBS’ THIS MORNING: SATURDAY
“Producer and famed multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones surrounds Berninger with ornamental instrumentation, allowing gently picked guitar and funereal horns to provide the backdrop for his dark ruminations. Sparse organ notes make the tale feel more immediate; it’s like hearing a longtime denizen of a backroom bar muttering to the strains of a country ballad on the jukebox.” – Pitchfork
“[Album track ‘One More Second’] starts out as a minimal and meditative acoustic tune, but soon expands with shuffling drums, rich organ, blooming backing vocals and even a tasteful—and slightly off-kilter—piano solo.” – Rolling Stone
“Laced with horns and produced by Memphis-bred master Booker T. Jones…the ten originals are downright soulful.” – Esquire
“Serpentine Prison features the same heady baritone and moody lyrics that are cornerstones of the National’s brand. But without Aaron and Bryce’s complementary guitars, Bryan’s anchoring drums and Scott’s reverberating bass, the mellow sound carrying over is decidedly Berninger’s, fine-tuned by longtime producer Booker T. Jones.” – The Washington Post
“a sparkling and introspective collection of songs” – Entertainment Weekly
“The organic, mellow, roots-tinged aesthetic of the National’s self-titled debut or portions of Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers might give some kind of hint to the patient and acoustic-driven sound of Serpentine Prison. Of course, 20 more years of experience and the influence of Jones make this a different beast entirely. Berninger was going for the feel of old-school albums, and he ends up approximating that feel with the weathered soulfulness of Serpentine Prison.” – Stereogum
"There’s little doubt that [the album] captures what Berninger does best in both fresh and familiar ways." – Consequence of Sound
"...it has a timeless flavor that traverses decades of musical influences and singer-songwriter flourishes, ending up somewhere between '70s confessional balladry and smoky barroom poetry, underlined by gently drifting rhythms and achingly earnest lyricism." – AV Club
Toronto, ON – October 16, 2020 – Serpentine Prison, the highly-anticipated debut solo record from Matt Berninger, frontman of The National, is out now. Produced by famed Memphis multi-instrumentalist, Booker T. Jones, the album is available via Book’s Records, a new imprint formed by Berninger and Jones in conjunction with Concord Records. Order the album here.
Berninger is set to perform selections from the new record tomorrow on CBS’ This Morning: Saturday, and The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert on October 22.
Serpentine Prison features contributions from a wide array of notable artists, including Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National, LNZNDRF), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut, LNZNDRF), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O'Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander) and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers). Additional production on the album was provided by Sean O’Brien.
In addition to his duties as frontman of acclaimed rock group The National, with whom he won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for 2017’s Sleep Well Beast, Berninger also collaborated with Brent Knopf (Ramona Falls, Menomena) under the moniker EL VY for the 2015 release Return to the Moon. In 2019 Berninger appeared in Between Two Ferns: The Movie and teamed up with Phoebe Bridgers to contribute the song Walking on a String to the film’s soundtrack.