Adam Granduciel and co. finally had their breakthrough in 2014 with Lost In The Dream. A well-crafted album of serene melancholy and 80s-infused alt-rock, it expanded their horizons. Fast forward to 2017 and it seems they’re looking to further utilise the formula which earned them a whole new audience. Emerging from the moody introspection which enveloped the previous record amidst his personal woes, Granduciel’s husky tones, the reverberating guitars and the lyrical melancholy make for a magical combination. With A Deeper Understanding, they have honed what made Lost in the Dream so ear-catching and sonically beautiful.
‘Up All Night’ might not have the same beguiling quality that greeted the listener with ‘Under The Pressure’ but it sets the tone. “Ain’t no way I’m gonna last/Hiding in the seams/I can’t move the past” Adam sings on ‘Holding On’; his palpable desperation juxtaposed with a chirpy rhythm section. In this way, The War On Drugs conveys deep lugubriousness while not dragging you down to the point where you want to turn the music off. Therein lies the success of Granduciel’s ambition for his project.
A Deeper Understanding captures the essence of The War On Drugs and moulds it into a more coherent whole
‘Strangest Thing’ provides a nod to Dylan’s ‘One Too Many Mornings’ with “Late at night I wanna see you/Well my eyes, they begin to fade”. The moodiness and the lyric may align, but Adam wears it better than Dylan ever did (yes I went there). The 11-minute epic ‘Thinking Of A Place’ which gave us a first glimpse of the album is utterly gorgeous. In true Pink Floyd style, he keeps you hooked on the otherworldly tones right to the very end.
A Deeper Understanding lives up to its name. It captures the essence of The War On Drugs and moulds it into a more coherent whole. I feel like this is what Adam has always been aiming for and I hope he can find solace in this achievement.
A natural progression from the last record
Deep and affecting songwriting
Satisfying from beginning to end
|1. Up All Night|
|3. Holding On|
|4. Strangest Thing|
|5. Knocked Down|
|6. Nothing To Find|
|7. Thinking Of A Place|
|8. In Chains|
|9. Clean Living|
|10. You Don’t Have To Go|