A Deeper Understanding is the new album from the very excellent The War on Drugs. I would describe this as ‘Relentless Dylan’, I think this is a compliment, I do like the new album very much. I was and am a huge fan of The War on Drugs last album ‘Lost in a Dream‘, which came out in 2014, and it is certainly my favourite album of the last few years. This new album I think I’ll have to say is a grower, but there is plenty here for me to look forward to in the coming period.
Overall, the album feels to me to be dominated by the Dylanesque vocal of Philadelphia based Adam Granduciel, the ebb and flow of the music taking a back seat to the wandering lyrical tone. That said, the music is generally energetic and, quite interestingly, 80s synth-based which was a surprise. The guitars riff along and I like the changes of pace through the tracks. I don’t feel as if the album ends as strongly as ‘Lost in a Dream’.
I do not feel that lyrically I am as engaged by this album as immediately as I was with ‘Lost in a Dream’. This is all a bit harsh as the last album was so good it was always going to be hard to be compared with such a fine album. But ‘Thinking of a Place’ illustrates my point beautifully in comparison to the track ‘Lost in a Dream’ where I feel the lyrics are not quite as clear as they were in ‘Lost in a Dream’, notwithstanding the fact I love the new track and it is probably my favourite piece. This album has taken three years to come out so I’m sure they’re not recycling music from previous sessions but maybe the ideas are stuck in the same place, though this is no bad thing in many cases.
I like this album a lot, as an album
I like this album a lot, as an album. My desire to purchase the vinyl version confirms this conclusion. It is also my best score of the year, I think, in a pretty unexciting year thus far.
A Deeper Understanding – Track Ratings
Up All Night ****
Pain ***** 5
Holding On ****
Strangest Thing ***** 5
Knocked Down ***** 5
Nothing to Find ****
Thinking of a Place ***** 5
In Chains ****
Clean Living ****
You Don’t Have to Go ****
Album – A Deeper Understanding
Artist – The War on Drugs
Download These At Least – Pain, Holding On, Thinking of a Place
Source – Bluesound Tidal
Player – T+A DAC 8
Amplification/Output – T+A AMP 8, Q Acoustics Concept 500s with QED Supremus cables
Album Released – 25th September 2017
10 Tracks, 76′ 17″
Overall Rating – 4.4