This third album from Adam Granduciel & co makes an astronomical leap forward in sonic scope and emotional intensity from 2011’s Slave Ambient. It seems Granduciel decided to take a page from his former bandmate Kurt Vile and give his music room to stretch; half of these songs top the six-minute mark. Really, this album feels like the emotionally beleaguered but resolute twin sister of Vile’s Waking on a Pretty Daze. Pulsing, Technicolor American road music for the wide-eyed sad-sack. Drop-dead amazing from start to finish. Please don’t ask me for favorites. FCC WARNING: 8 (supposedly).
1. (8:52)—Mid-tempo. Rocking, big, a psychedelic take on the best 80s pop. Last three minutes are Minimum Entropy drone wash.
2. (4:59)—Fast, propulsive. Mellow verses that launch with well-placed “Woo!”s into psych-Springsteen.
3. (6:03)—Slow, twangy, alluring, extremely relaxing.
4. (7:12)—Fast, major-key, toward post-punk. Brings the chorus in late, builds so gradually that its sonic power near the end is almost sinister. Ends suddenly.
5. (6:52)—Mid-tempo, especially hazy. 80s drum sounds, oodles of red-hot guitars slicing through butter.
6. (5:56)—Mid-tempo. Strummed guitar, piano, pedal steel, and saxophone in a big bowl of triumphant twangy reverb soup. Awwww yeah.
7. (3:08)—Instrumental. Drooooooone. Preeeetty. Fades into 8.
8. (5:48)—FCC WARNING (can’t hear anything, but the label says FCC, so okay). Throbbing synth bass intro. More psych-Springsteen rock ‘n’ roll. Epic.
9. (4:10)—Medium-slow. The most country-tinged tune here. The lead guitars glisten. This is so beautiful.
10. (7:41)—Medium-slow, very spacey. Long ambient intro. Drums enter halfway through. Absurdly heartbreaking and huge. Yes!