fri 20/09/2019

CD: The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

CD: The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Bruce Springsteen reimagined by American indie auteur

Lost in the Dream takes a while to make its presence felt. Four tracks in, with “An Ocean in Between the Waves”, it all falls into place. A frosted-glass take on the Bruce Springsteen of “I’m on Fire” washes out from the speakers and submerges the ears in a warm bath. Familiar-sounding yet just alien enough to attract attention, the song builds upon itself to climax with a crescendo which could easily win a stadium audience over.

Although an early home for the pre-solo Kurt Vile, until Lost in the Dream The War on Drugs has largely been the one-man band of Philadelphia’s Adam Granduciel. He used additional musicians for recording, but they were bolt-ons: on board to fill out the sound and songs. For Lost in the Dream, though, he is joined by the band he’s been on stage with for the couple of years subsequent to the release of its predecessor Slave Ambient. In effect, this is The War on Drugs’ first album as a band.

Beyond that, Lost in the Dream differs from Slave Ambient in the way the songs are structured. Before, a section of Krautrock-ish rhythmic chug was followed by a chunk of Springsteenian crescendos or vice versa. Now, the two are integrated: the motorik rhythms underpin the Boss-modelled melodies. Both are going on the same time. A large dollop of Dylan is in there too, as are Tom Petty, Forever Now-era Psychedelic Furs (even borrowing their parping sax), influential German band Harmonia and Don Henley's “Boys of Summer”. Granduciel’s aural potpourri could have been unique. But now that Springsteen himself has trod the same path by covering New York electro-oddities Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream" on his recent High Hopes album, it’s fair to wonder whether Granduciel and his meta music have been trumped by his prime inspiration.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Overleaf: watch the video for “Red Eyes”, from The War on Drugs’s Lost in the Dream

 


 

 

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