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The War on Drugs' "Lost in the Dream" Album Review

March 2, 2014

Album

The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream
Secretly Canadian

The music of Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs almost universally invites references to expansive landscapes, big skies, and the open road. It would be easy to dismiss such a unified collective reaction as lazy journalists cribbing from the same press release. In reality, it’s a testament to WOD mastermind Adam Granduciel’s gift for crafting deeply evocative and vivid images from sound. Indeed, when taking in Lost in the Dream’s steady, streamlined rhythmic underpinnings, long-echo guitar lines, minor-key melodies, and Granduciel’s yearning loner voice, it’s almost impossible to not imagine interstate wanderers fleeing heartbreak and seeking salvation.

Granduciel honed this formula on his 2011 release Slave Ambient. But “Red Eyes,” the first single from Lost in the Dream might be Granduciel’s melancholy masterpiece (the title alone conjures pictures of tearful, desperate late nights far from home). Exultant, full of longing, and bristling with the tension of driving acoustics, drifting baritone sax, and weeping synth strings, it’s a heart-rending little ride—one of many on an LP that marks a brilliant texturalist emerging as a master songsmith.

Must-hear track: “Red Eyes”