Saturday, December 6, 2014

Album Review: The War on Drugs - Lost In The Dream (2014)

Lost In The Dream is the third full-length release from Philadelphia-based indie rockers The War On Drugs.

Such was the level of critical acclaim during the weeks and months following its March 2014 release, Lost In The Dream is almost certain to feature on many of those upcoming end-of-year “best album” lists. And when it does, those plaudits will certainly be well deserved. In fact, despite the departure of the influential Kurt Vile after the release of its 2008 debut album, The War On Drugs is a band on the rise.
With its Eighties-style sheen and glossy pop production, Lost In The Dream was almost instantly familiar to my ears. In a warm and comforting way. It was like I’d heard it before, but I kept having to remind myself that I couldn’t possibly have – it was brand spanking new. It was like an old friend whose face I recognised but couldn’t quite place … I knew this music, but where the hell did I know it from?
It turns out that I knew it from the hybrid of Eighties reference points that feature heavily throughout its hour long duration. Such touchstones are everywhere on Lost In The Dream – from the dark Americana feel of Bruce Springsteen, to Fleetwood Mac, to The Blue Nile, to the “big” sound of The Waterboys … and beyond, well beyond. Derivative yet still unique, new, and original to The War On Drugs.
Then there’s the cinematic imagery: a vast open space, somewhere like the Arizona desert maybe, a road trip, top down in a ’56 Cadillac convertible. It’s dreamy pop music with a slightly shadowy hue, uplifting yet also a little paranoid, disturbing, claustrophobic ... calming, and liberating … all at the same time.

I’m pretty sure some will call it a masterpiece … and they probably won’t be too far wrong.
Highlights: ‘Under The Pressure’, ‘Red Eyes’, and the title track, but generally there’s no filler and this is a “no skip” album …

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