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Album Review: Lost In The Dream - The War on Drugs

Album Review: Lost In The Dream - The War on Drugs

Lost In The Dream, the new full-length album released by ambient-rockers The War on Drugs, has arrived. The record is available via Secretly Canadian, and finds Adam Granduciel, Dave Hartley, Robbie Bennett and crew delivering an expansive, inviting sound, pairing intimate lyrics with a broad musical spectrum.
“Under Pressure” kicks off the record with the sonically illustrated tension of ticking, before falling into a smoothly spacious piano-steered scenario, and The War on Drugs’ central cog Adam Granduciel coolly offers some insight into his thoughts - “When I come down here, it’s easy like the arrival of a new day, but a dream like this gets wasted without you - under the pressure.” Instrumentally, “Under Pressure” spreads out over the course of nearly nine minutes, floating towards end into the album’s lead single “Red Eyes,” which follows with its synth/drum-paced 1980’s feel. “But abuse my faith, lose it every time, but I don’t know where you’re on my side again so ride the key wherever it goes, I’ll be the one.” “I can’t” punctuated by an exasperated “whoo” that paves the way for one of the album’s signature multifaceted musical forays.
“Suffering” momentarily eases the pace when paired with the solemnly pensive lyrics. However, despite its melancholy nature, the track includes thoughtful keys, giving way to a mournful guitar solo with brief glimpses of lap steel guitar and saxophone. Despite its drum-machine opening, “An Ocean in Between the Waves” thrives as a modernized nod to Dire Straits. The continuously ascending tempo and conversational vocal styling leads to an empty clearing that Granduciel’s guitar fills with a Knopfler-esque solo.
With pedal steel ringing like the arrival of a train (a foreshadowing of its’ lyrics), “like a train in reverse down a dark road carrying the whole load, just rattling the whole way home,” blended with the strumming of an acoustic guitar and an eerie harmonica, they welcome the Americana of “Eyes in the Wind.” The song’s overall effect is elevated through the use of densely layered instrumentation that accentuates the details.
Lost In The Dream’s lone instrumental “The Haunting Idle” serves as a segue between scenes of ominous echoing guitar and a synth base, painting a desert image which carries over into the early stages of “Burning” as an electric pulse builds anticipation before falling into a traveling rocker. With a mixture of enthusiasm and yearning aided by the additional warmth of the organ sounding keys, Granduciel proclaims, “So as you find yourself flying high above, when you release me from your heart again, I’m just a burning man, trying to keep the shit from turning over again.” The album’s title track sizzles with a deeply personal revelation/realization. The guitar stirs up the dust, the harmonica whines, and Granduciel admits, “Lost in a dream or just a moment, it’s always hard to tell…” “Loves the key to games that we play, but don’t mind losing…”
Closing with “In Reverse,” a smooth atmospheric rocker that reinforces the record’s common thread of personal thoughts revealed and questions worked through. “And I realize now, that the room was better, and I hear it all through the grand parade.”
The War on Drugs open up through Lost In The Dream, producing a fully envisioned album that retains the band’s customary haze and congruency, while simultaneously peeling back another layer, touching an up-close nerve.
The War on Drugs will be celebrating the record’s release this evening at Union Transfer with White Laces and A.M. Mills. - Michael Colavita

Published: March 18, 2014 |

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