OK, I’ll cut to the chase, if you like beautifully produced and obviously lovingly recorded music and vocal, just go and buy this album by The War on Drugs (full stop).
Soulful, beautiful, lazy, slightly crazy, dreamy and breathtaking music; wonderful and surely the album of the year so far, not a week after I thought the Wild Beasts had released the best album of 2014 so far.
I usually do a bit of a track listing with a rating per song, mainly because you don’t normally get this in a review and it felt like a good way of communicating the highlights of an album for those who choose to download four or five tracks per album. But all of these tracks are exactly four stars out of five, none of them are outstanding but together they form a perfect sixty minutes of musical perfection.
The opening track is ‘Under The Pressure’, a mournful but acceptable introduction to the album; it’s followed by ‘Red Eye’, a dreamy track that has a bit of The National in it, but with a better vocal (there I said it?). Then, turn it up, we have ‘Suffering’, six minutes of glorious bass driven, lazy rhythm and guitars wandering through the vocal. ‘An Ocean in the Waves’, has Robert Smith’s guitar all over it, and there, I have invoked the names of my two favourite bands in one paragraph but this music and this track in particular is ‘Hotel California’ good.
It only remains for me to invoke Dylanesque vocal comparisons in the rhythmical ‘Eyes to the Wind’ and we are done with this breathtaking album, easily my most enjoyable for a longtime. I’ve heard this style of well produced and
intelligent music variously described >as Dad Rock, if that’s the case this is top Dad Rock. It’s got Tom Petty rhythm with Dylanesque rambling vocals in the digital streaming age. In the second half of the album there is much more of the same, ‘Burning’ is a particular favourite that has huge rhythm and scope and builds and drifts off with perfection.
I also don’t usually do an overall rating, leaving the reader to judge based on the individual track ratings whether the body of work does the job for them. In this case it would be wrong to call the album 4 out of 5 based on the track ratings I indicated above, the sum is easily greater than the individual tracks, this is 4.7 type album, glorious in scope and delivery; I think I’ve made myself clear.
Definition: Invoke – call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer, as a witness, or for inspiration