The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
Lost in the Dream is a relatively long album, each song with a running length of over five minutes. The band embark on an ambient journey on this record, accompanied by Cure-esque late 80s post-punk melodies. It works as an ode to the album in the age of the restless clicker – it summons you to listen, to sleep and to get lost in the dream.
The first half is numbingly steady while dreamy and psychedelic. Adam Granduciel’s voice is helped along by ambient guitar sounds, at times lifted by a punchy drumbeat and the lucid sound of synths. In the opening song Under the Pressure, Granduciel sings in a similar manner to a solo Paul Simon and offers like a young Bob Dylan piercing musings on his position and his place: “Well the comedown here is easy, like the arrival of a new day. But a dream like this gets wasted without you.” Depressed, but more done in than anything else – Granduciel gives a personal, and yes a slightly self-loathing account of himself.
Granduciel recognises his demons, but that is as far it goes: only a recognition. There are loud, almost Herculean moments that take on an Arcade Fire-style grandness, as exemplified in the song Red Eyes. But it plummets back down to earth in the steady, cool and soothing track Suffering, as Granduciel saddles up not in defiance, but just in acceptance as the guitar and synths twinkle and then fade. The opening three tracks are superbly orchestrated, but the album seems to flounder somewhat for a while, losing itself in inebriated ambience as some songs go on far too long.
In the second half, the track Eyes to the Wind offers a solemn awakening and puts the album back on course, injecting some much needed energy. The song Burning has been compared to Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark but without the Boss’s vocal clarity – Granduciel is wide awake now and is driving with no direction home. The final song In Reverse is a lovely crescendo, a wonderful summing up of the album’s mood: wistful but not dejected, still moving, albeit in reverse.
Lost in the Dream was released on 18th March 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Red Eyes here: