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The War On Drugs A Deeper Understanding Atlantic


The War on Drugs pulled off quite the trick in 2014 when they broke through with the third album Lost in the Dream. They took a slew of influences that were by no stretch of the imagination original and made something that felt, if not fresh, then at least affecting. The album’s tasteful production and dreamy soundscapes proved a convincing disguise for dressing up the cues the Philadelphia band took from traditionally unfashionable artists like Dire Straits and Tom Petty, and frontman Adam Granduciel addressed his struggles with depression with compelling lyricism.

Nobody switched onto the band by their last LP is going to feel alienated by A Deeper Understanding, but Granduciel has expanded his sound. Tracks like Strangest Thing and Knocked Down are flecked with little flourishes – shimmering synths, wandering arpeggios – that lend an extra sparkle. There were moments Lost in the Dream felt huge enough to be on the verge of breaking point, and here there’s also an epic feel to songs like the seven-minute In Chains and lead single Thinking of a Place – which expand without feeling like they risk careening into chaos. Ultimately, A Deeper Understanding sounds like you expect it to – the band who made Lost in the Dream trying to do it all over again, but this time they’re sounding more placid, and a touch sunnier.