The War On Drugs, released March 2014

A retrospective track by track review of ‘Lost In The Dream’ by The War On Drugs, one of the most acclaimed albums of 2014.

1. Under The Pressure. Distant percussion, guitars fade in and out then suddenly it kicks off with piano and the full band sound. We are in for a long opener, as with so many tracks on this album there is plenty of time and space to develop the ideas. Adam Granduciel adds a Dylanesque vocal to a simple chord structure and over the nearly nine minutes there are instrumental twists galore.

2. Red Eyes. The first single when the album was released. A bit more up tempo and sparse, romping along over a pulsing drum then bursting into extra life.

3. Suffering. A haunting but simple statement of love or acceptance, again the length of track allows time for a heavily treated guitar line to bookend the wistful vocal, all reminiscent of late-period Roxy Music.

4. An Ocean In Between The Waves. The musical centrepiece of the album, the singer travelling on musically and lyrically as the cryptically described relationship turns sour over a driving beat and gradual introduction of walls of synthesiser and unrelenting guitar solos.

5. Disappearing. A more relaxing feel to this one, the distant sentiment in the words somehow captured by the floating guitar and repeating piano motif. This whole album sounds so lovingly crafted, every instrumental cameo perfectly placed.

6. Eyes To The Wind. A Waterboys-style big sound pervades this story of moving on, it is energetic and lyrically dense, before playing out gracefully with a saxophone break.

7. The Haunting Idle. An echoing guitar instrumental interlude, could almost be Pink Floyd in 1975, effectively acting as an introduction to….

8. Burning. A recurring repeated piano note, wide-sweeping lyrics and a neat structure with chorus sections make this one of the most accessible songs on the album.

9. Lost In The Dream. A quieter contemplative track, gentle chords and nostalgic imagery.

10. In Reverse. The epic finale, vocal lines over free-form guitar textures, then the band maintain a solid calm backing for the words of regret and impending darkness. The song ends quietly as it began and fades away into the waves…


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