|War On Drugs, The / A Deeper Understanding|
|Add Date:||2017-09-08|| ||Pull Date:||2017-11-10|| |
|Week Ending:||15 Oct||8 Oct||1 Oct||24 Sep||17 Sep||10 Sep|
Lost in the Dream was my favorite album of 2014, so I cannot possibly overstate how psyched I was for this album—and for the most part, it delivered. Fans of Adam Granduciel’s previous ‘80s-inspired outings will be pleased to find that everything they loved about the project has returned in fighting form on their major-label debut, from the lush production to the motorik percussion to the one-two punch of guitar and piano, although Granduciel’s voice is much higher and clearer in the mix. Personally, I thought this album lacked some of the emotional heft of Lost in the Dream, and at times sounded a little too polished, but to say that this album is only slightly inferior to its predecessor is to damn it with the faintest praise. It’s another spectacular album and a welcome return from one of America’s finest rock bands. (Note: These are some long songs. All but one of them are over five minutes long, one of which is more than twice that. If there’s something going on in the station that requires your attention, throw on these songs to buy yourself some time—especially #7.)|
Favorites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8
1) “Up All Night” (6:23)* – Bouncy synths and steady drumming anchor the first half of the song. Opening piano riff fades after a few minutes, giving way to a blistering guitar solo at the three-minute mark.
2) “Pain” (5:31)* – Shimmering reverb on the electric guitars, dueling with acoustic strumming. The last two-or-so minutes of the song are driven by a guitar solo that sounds like a buzzsaw. It’s a thrilling, cathartic number.
3) “Holding On” (5:51)* – Driving percussion and a high, wafting synthesizer make this song sound like it’s ripped straight out of the 1980s. Slide guitar and glockenspiel are two sonic flourishes that are used to great effect.
4) “Strangest Thing” (6:41)* – Noticeably slower song than the three that came before it. Granduciel sings over a steady drumbeat and piano chords—and then three guitar solos at 2:40, 3:35, and 4:30. Be sure to turn the volume for these, especially the last one.
5) “Knocked Down” (4:00) – The album’s shortest track is also its sparest and sleepiest. It drifts along in a haze of guitar and piano, both acoustic and electric.
6) “Nothing to Find” (6:10) – Another song that charges along on guitar, drums, and synthesizer. It’s not as distinctive as my favorites, but it’s hardly a bad track.
7) “Thinking of a Place” (11:11)* – The band’s grand return is the album’s longest—and best—song. Song floats along in a bath of synthesizers for most of the first five minutes, save for a guitar solo at 3:00. Second part sounds familiar until the seven-minute mark, when the song breaks off into a fuller, lighter direction, riding it out until the end.
8) “In Chains” (7:21)* – Mid-pace song driven by a repeating piano riff. Save for the loud bridges at 2:42 and 5:37, it’s generally a quieter number. Guitar solo at the end.
9) “Clean Living” (6:29) – Quiet synths in the background bubble underneath the vocals for the first two minutes of the song, before the drums and guitar kick in. It’s a slow, steady ballad that kind of drags a bit by the end.
10) “You Don’t Have to Go” (6:43) – Granduciel sings in a lower register on this track than on any others, and the literal change of tune here does wonders. This song, another ballad, doesn’t drag like its predecessor thanks to its warmer sound and better mix of instrumentation—piano, drums, and harmonica.