Cherry Tree (2021 Remaster)
Perhaps one of the most pivotal EPs of its decade
“Cherry Tree” marks the transition of The National from a solid post-punk revival band to one of the most essential indie rock groups of their era. In particular, the stretch from “Wasp Nest’ to “About Today” stands out — not only because all five songs are great, but also because they foreshadow the music The National would go on to create; brooding but melodic, melancholy and complex, and impervious to their initial, straightforward genre classifications. Matt Berninger's scream on “Murder Me Rachael” almost seems to acknowledge and send off the band’s earliest iteration. But “Cherry Tree” isn’t just a prelude to “Alligator”; it’s an excellent and deeply felt set of songs in its own right.