The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream - SECRETLY CANADIAN
FILTER Grade: 84%
By Adam Valeiras on March 17, 2014
Back in the days of their first LP, 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, The War on Drugs offered “Arms Like Boulders” and “Buenos Aires Beach”—poetic storms in the vein of Dylan and his ceaseless, ever-significant ramblings; there, the rhythms’ main purpose seemed to be to provide a foundational support for Adam Granduciel’s lengthy, effortlessly-delivered lyrics. Since then, the formula’s been reversed with subtly distorted vocals; patterned, endlessly layered guitars; and steady percussion taking the forefront as melodies existing in a suspended, consistent ambience—never feeling like they have an end. On Lost in the Dream, like the preceding Slave Ambient, frontman Granduciel carries the album with reigning, rippling melody lines played out on lead guitar (through his beloved Moogerfooger Ring Modulator), lyrics having relinquished the throne. On both The War on Drugs’ latest albums, the effect is a devaluing of time and emphasis, the instruments run over each other in a muddy wash, only taking occasional turns on the foreground. The band may have switched the formula, but the solution still adds up.