Words by Dennis Ruhlin

Sit down, get yourself in order, and listen to this album. Really listen. Don’t vacuum or write a paper or play a game. Listen. I made the mistake and half-assed it a few times. When I finally listened, it’s like my eyes opened.

The thought of writing this was daunting. I honestly didn’t like the album that much. The entire album reeks of the modern indie sound. Take the second track ‘Red Eyes’ for example. Every 15 seconds sounds like someone else in the indie sphere. Is that an old Cure single? Maybe it’s Arcade Fire? I dunno! I like it, let’s just keep it on.

But when you actually listen, you’ll hear it.

You’re going to notice the quality of this album is superb. It’s crisp, well timed, ambient music to help you drift through whatever it is your dealing with at the moment. Hopefully you have some serious drifting to do, as this album is just a hair over 60 minutes long. There are some seriously long tracks on here, such as ‘An Ocean In Between The Waves’, clocking in at 7:12, or the opener ‘Under the Pressure’, just shy of 9 minutes long. Somehow though, the time really flies.

The emphasis is clearly on the instrumentals in this album. Take track ‘The Haunting Idle’ for instance, it’s three straight minutes of slowly building spaced-out psych rock leading into the track ‘Burning’, which literally may set you on fire. The juxtaposition between these two tracks highlights how The War on Drugs manages to create open, free sounds, and then reel them back in and spin them into powerful symphonies that touch anyone.

That’s not to say the lyrics are lacking at all. They’re beautiful at times. They ooze an ethereal feeling of serenity and tranquility. It’s generous and calming, while enjoyable over and over again. It’s the kind of music you could make love or smoke blunts to.

Some say the album loses speed at the end, and I almost agree. Yes, the track ‘Lost In The Dream’ is a struggling track at best. However, ending on an earthy melancholy gem like ‘In Reverse’ is the perfect, soothing sendoff this album needed. This is album isn’t perfect. It’s modern shoe-gazing, but it’s still a damn good listen.

The War on Drugs
‘Lost In The Dream’
Secretly Canadian
© March 18th, 2014



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