The War On Drugs: A Deeper Understanding – rehashing the psychedelic Americana formula

Thu, Aug 24, 2017, 11:00


A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs



Adam Granduciel had been round the block a few turns by the time his band’s third album, Lost In The Dream, surprisingly propelled them to the indie rock big leagues. Although they subsequently signed to a major label, he was savvy enough to insist on “complete creative freedom”, and so the sound he perfected – a spacious, psychedelic take on the heartland Americana of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty – is largely reprised here without any brash pop moves. That’s commendable, but although all the elements of their winning formula are present and correct – minor-key melodies, guitar-and-synth tapestries and an all-encompassing wistfulness – it feels a little too much like a retread. Things start well with the stirring Up All Night and the elegiac Pain, but too much of the record floats by in a soporific haze, while upbeat tracks such as Holding On and Nothing To Find lack bite.