Posted in Album Reviews

The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore (2021)

I Don’t Live Here Anymore (Vinyl)

Adam Granduciel spent 3 years working on The War On Drugs’ fifth LP released in October of 2021, I Don’t Live Here Anymore.  Working with co-producer Shawn Everett, Granduciel logged many miles between New York and LA with various sessions taking place in both cities. The album mixes synths with the anthemic 80s rock of Springsteen and Petty. “Harmonia’s Dream” pushes the synths up in the mix where the “summer comes and rain gets in”. Granduciel sings “And I need your kiss/like I’m dressed in morning mist” on the energetic “Wasted”.

Perhaps capturing the feeling of bouncing between cities, the title track sings “I don’t live here anymore/but I got no place to go”. Members of the band Lucious sing on the chorus and lift the track into one of the highlights. Leaving the lushness of other tracks, first single “Living Proof” is a straightforward track with mostly just guitar and piano that adds a more naked vulnerability. 

On “Change”, Granduciel wonders if he was “maybe born on the wrong day”.  It’s not just the lyric itself but the way the words hang there while the music continues. There are a few dips on I Don’t Live Here Anymore, and a bit too much gloss in places where a more minimal sound would have been welcomed. What is transparent, is the overall longing and searching in the lyrics that makes the album a place where even the adults are still trying to figure things out.

8/10

Posted in Album Reviews

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

51V5n3XX4sL__AA160_The War on Drugs’ 2011 sophomore release was as slow burner. Slave Ambient is one of those albums that you put on in the early afternoon and hours later realize you’ve listened to it ten times in a row and still want to hear it again. After receiving quite a bit of critical acclaim and a successful tour, Adam Granduciel (The War on Drugs’ main man) spent fifteen months at home in Philadelphia crafting its follow-up, Lost In The Dream.

The basic sound of Slave Ambient is still intact, Tunnel of Love era Bruce Springsteen with Bob Dylan vocals and a splash of Tom Petty, but the songs have grown longer with half of the ten tracks going over the six minute mark. Opener “Under the Pressure” is a marvel. A piano twinkles in and out before a mid-section breakdown of layered guitars and synthesizers, a drum then kick starts the song back alive. “Eyes To The Wind” turns up Granduciel’s Dylanesque vocal inflections when he sings, “I’m just a bit run down here at the moment, yeah I’m all alone here, living in darkness”. “Burning” contains a piano line that is an absolute dead ringer for Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks”… and is all the better for it.

In the hands of lesser talent, longer tracks can easily lose focus but here that really only happens with the meandering “Disappearing”. Lost In The Dream was crafted in the city but it is the sound of prairie skies, dusty roads and pick-up trucks. Tim Riggins and Lyla Gerrity would surely approve. This is already one of the best albums of 2014. Pennsylvania forever.

8/10