The War On Drugs are, it seems, part of a dying breed. Beneath the intricate layers of droning synths and Adam Granduciel’s delicious drawl, the crucial elements that delicately structured previous releases, 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues and the stunning Slave Ambient, their focus has been nudged wider on latest offering, Lost In A Dream.
Thankfully, much of their appeal, the woozy, fractured beauty, the doting odes to benchmarks of American guitar music, remain intact, albeit smeared across a heftier running time in vivid, bubbling technicolour. Under The Pressure is a lethargic, seductive opener, easing you in softly, seemingly for the imminent detonation of simmering euphoria that spills from Red Eyes, its runaway gallop barely letting up before Suffering’s tortured piano keys and strained vocal swallow you up in a gentle haze.
A breathtaking fistful of tracks under their belt, the band seem to flirt with greater ambition as the album progresses. If An Ocean In Between The Waves is the record’s high point, as fluid and refreshing as a stream quivering from the purest spring, Eyes To The Wind and Burning ensure that while The War On Drugs may be part of a dying breed, extinction hardly beckons. Lost In A Dream brings comfort in moments of quiet reflection, leaving you a little misty-eyed, while also remaining subtly anthemic and, ultimately, vastly triumphant. I’m not sure you’ll hear a better record all year.