- 6:29 pm - Wed, Mar 19, 2014
- 11 notes
The War on Drugs
As the shoegaze wheel turns, more bands begin to understand it as an extractive ingredient. Deafheaven impossibly stitched shoegaze’s delicate sense of vulnerability with the abrasiveness of black metal. M83 has taken shogaze and infused it with a wash of buzzing apocalyptic electronics. The War on Drugs takes fuses shoegaze with a sound that seems both oxymoronic yet brilliant, Americana. You’d think that the earnest, blue collar, sun dithering nature of roots rock would be ideologically opposed to the withdrawn, often pretentious personality of shoegaze; you’d be wrong. Lost In The Dream marries shoegaze to Americana as the former enables a collection of vividly languid Bob Dylan-esque reflections of the human condition.
Unfortunately, the album starts out a little off. Apart from the hearty vocals on“Under the Pressure”, this opening track is a little too distant and falls territory resembling Diiv at times. It’s a lush, well-imagined song but the overpowering transcendent guitar is a little misleading in relation to the rest of the album which balances earthy heartland rock with shoegaze surrealism far better. “Red Eyes” adds a hint of jangle rock into the mix and the pavlovian response to Graundciel’s chorus-prompting shouts give this track the gristle missing from the solid, if misleading, album opener. As the Lost In the Dream wares on, the dusty trails of “Suffering”, “Disappearing” and “Ocean Between the Waves” spin stretched sonic compositions narrated by loss, nostalgia, self-doubt and defeatism.
There’s also a strong sense of 80s musical production and stylistic design on Lost in The Dream. Curiously, ghostly reverberated drums on “Disappearing” and smoky, midnight electric leads present in “Ocean Between the Waves” (elsewhere on the album as well) enter a spice blend that never crams ideas widly and approaches into the balance of any given track. “Eye’s Into the Wild” is the lyrical pinnacle of Lost in The Dream. It’s a dreamy, muse of self-reflection that expertly sets scenes, landmarks, and characterized space. It’s a song that vividly and satisfyingly imagines the journey of the self entirely through sound yet communicates imagery materially.
Lost in the Dream is an album undeniably injected with love, patience, and obsessive attention to detail. The War on Drug’s third record is overwhelmingly beautiful, substantial and only disseminates the true magnitude of its accomplishment with multiple listens. This is 2014’s front running album thus far.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★