It was a rainy evening in April when I first heard about the band “The War on Drugs”. A musician friend of mine insisted that I listen to the seven minute and 12 second “An Ocean Between Two Waves.” He said in doing so I would be “hip and right” and that their new album “Lost in The Dream” in its entirety would blow my mind like it did his.
I didn’t know I needed an album like this until I was lying in bed that night. Eyes closed and earbuds comfortably in place, I realized how fitting the album title “Lost in The Dream” was. My brain couldn’t decide whether to let myself be soothed to sleep by the ambience of the synthesizer or perk up to the steady drum beats. I felt hip, right and changed, just as predicted.
From start to finish, “Lost in The Dream” displays a combination of the “then” and the “now.” The band’s overall sound struck me as an odd synthesis of Bob-Dylan-like vocals and Arcade Fire instrumentals. The use of drum machines and synthesizers reminded me of ‘80s rock music. However, the band simultaneously uses sounds like harmonica and piano common to the modern indie rock genre. After jamming to tracks like “Red Eyes” and “In Reverse,” I was left feeling that I discovered a well-kept secret.
“The War on Drugs”, while effectively creating a current, ethereal indie-rock sound, surprisingly brings to mind genres of the past. I question why “The War on Drugs” wasn’t booked for Coachella, or better yet, set to play in Kansas City in the near future.
My challenge to you: Listen to the seven minute build up followed by a powerfully abrupt ending on “An Ocean Between Two Waves” and not become enamored with “The War on Drugs”.
Listen to the most recent album by “The War on Drugs”: