The War on Drugs

Lost in the Dream

Secretly Canadian

Mar 14, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share


The third full-length recording by Adam Granduciel and company picks up where 2011's Slave Ambient left off, finding a remarkably confident band capable of grand anthems without losing the subtler touches that separate them from lesser bands. Lost in the Dream trades in some of Slave Ambient's catchy firepower for longer, more explorative songs, like the brilliant nearly nine-minute opener "Under the Pressure."

There's a sleepy psychedelia at work, but The War on Drugs never feels aimless; even the more jam-oriented tracks, such as the six-minute "Suffering," have a destination in mind. The War on Drugs has mastered their vibe to the point that the energy the band gives off, even in a slow-burner like "An Ocean In Between the Waves," can be astounding. Former guitarist Kurt Vile has the same ability to corral a song as it's on the edge of spinning out of control, and walking that line is the pleasure of Lost in the Dream.   

The War on Drugs has never sounded like a developing band and yet each successive album has deepened the band's sound while distancing it from their influences, or at least incorporating them to the point where they're not as recognizable. The overt Bruce Springsteen flavor of Slave Ambient has been mixed in a little deeper, occasionally evident in Granduciel's vocal delivery (listen to the first verse or two of "Eyes to the Wind" and a young, bearded Bruce immediately springs to mind) or the outsized thump of Lost in the Dream's louder moments.

With all of its subtlety, Lost in the Dream drags a bit in small sections, but it's a small price to pay for such an immensely enjoyable record. Though clearly there's a significant amount of work going into their music, it manages to sound effortless. If The War on Drugs intended the title of Lost in the Dream as a mission statement, then both the band and the listener can consider it a mission accomplished. (www.thewarondrugs.net)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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