Record Review: The War on Drugs

by | Sep 26, 2011 | Reviews

The War On Drugs
Slave Ambient
Philadelphia, PA

“A starry-eyed reach toward greatness”

It’s hard to be retro and refreshing, simple and complex, straightforward and ambiguous. In this same vein, The War On Drugs are quite the conundrum.

LISTEN NOW: “Come To The City”

[audio:|titles=06 Come to the City]

Their new album and second LP so obviously takes a nod from a multi-generational list of legends (Dylan, Springsteen, Petty). But at the same time, it still layers on the current technologies that lie just outside of the stagnant sensibilities of indie pop. It carries songs with steady beats and sparkly top notes that continue to compliment the band’s extraordinary vision and uses of texture.

Front man and songwriter extraordinaire Adam Granduciel paints his picture of modern-day America with a raspy voice that seems to come easier than breathing.  “Been a soldier from the start, been released and torn apart. Been inside the only storm that’s been raging,” he sings on opening track “Best Night.”

Hidden gems on the record include the sultry “I Was There” and the slowly-building “Come to the City.” Three-minute instrumental tracks like “City Reprise #12” and “Original Slave” fill in the gaps by saying everything and nothing at all, and “Baby Missiles” sounds ’80s enough to earn a spot on The Breakfast Club soundtrack.

All in all, this album definitely gets a fist pump. (Secretly Canadian)