The War On Drugs: Lost In The Dream (2014)

I'm a little wary of well-hyped albums in recent years; as critics seem to recoil from the old elitist rockism and embrace popism, I find a lot of much-ballyhooed records are too far afield from (or, more specifically, too popularly centered for) my taste for basic guitar-based indie rock and noise pop.  But this is one that got a ton of hype that I actually enjoy quite a bit, so, hey, score one for the teeming masses.

The album sports a new wave/classic rock vibe, ethereal reverb and extended guitar jams reminiscent of U2 and, especially, early Dire Straits, as well as shades of more recent arena-friendly Americana like the National or My Morning Jacket.  Frontman Adam Granduciel's vocals conjure Dylan and Mark Knopfler, full of portent and poetry, while it's the gentle but room-filling music which envelopes you and gives the album such a feeling of depth.  The longer-running song lengths give the album plenty of breathing room, best suited to a cozy afternoon on the couch.

Which isn't to say there aren't hooks here to draw you in.  Lead-off track "Under The Pressure" moves at a steady clip and is downright catchy, before sliding off into a long fade of feedback-drenched ambience.  It's followed by the even more compelling "Red Eyes," the sort of track that begs for "classic rock" status twenty years from now; while the quiet, mellow title track demonstrates that the band is no less powerful when eschewing the big, boomy reverb-swaddled guitars.  And even where the songs are more sprawling and meandering than focused, they simply sound fantastic.  This is one where I like to give the big-ass speakers in the family room a good workout.

Here's the "Under The Pressure" video:
 ...and the "Red Eyes" video:


  1. I have a six cd shuffler in the house. This weekend while settling in for household chores, I loaded up the shuffler and this was one of the discs. The first song to play was Red Eyes and my wife immediately asked who it was. This is a striking band and this album rewards a time investment.


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