THE ACT: The War On Drugs | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
THOUGHTS: When people ask me what music has been turning me on lately, I usually rattle off a list new LP’s that I’ve purchased at the local record shop. The one album that hasn’t left that list? The War On Drugs’ “Lost In The Dream”.
I remember when I bought the LP. I was thumbing through some racks of LPs at Origami Vinyl, when the text of “Limited Edition” and “Purple Vinyl” on the sticker caught my eye: “. Silly as it may be, since I’m a collector, things like that always interest me. I asked the proprietor about the album, and he told me that it was a solid album, giving me the history behind the band (how founding member Kurt Vile left the band in 2011, leaving Adam Granduciel to helm the band) and suggesting that if I purchased it, he was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. He was correct. In fact, he had gotten me to purchase an album that I have very high on list of “best albums of the year”. Well done, Origami Vinyl.
The album is brilliant. It’s a cohesive masterpiece of brilliantly engaging, dreamy rock, melding understated synths with soaring guitar licks. The album is only 10 tracks deep, and runs slightly over an hour, but the listening experience seems to conclude too early, as if the “dream” is the music causing the listener to get “lost” in it. A dream that you simply don’t want to wake up from. The lyrics, honest and emotional, is Adam’s voice … but really, it’s the voice of the everyman. When he sings about that moment of realizing heartbreak or admitting depression, he’s really writing, whether he meant to or not, for everyone one who has been there.
The War On Drugs’ live show is just as amazing as their album. Pulling from the band’s entire catalog, their set, and pardon the pun, was like an ocean with waves (a song of theirs is titled “An Ocean Between The Waves”). From sublime smoothness, to relentless ardor, the room swelled with the kind of natural energy only great music can create; hitting the right peaks and valleys with an emotional fervor.
And the music was played to perfection. Though they may have jammed out, extending songs longer than what are on the album, I closed my eyes at times and couldn’t hear the difference. The musicianship, and the technicality with which they played, was effortless.
After their performance, I hung out a while to see if I could get Adam to sign the LP that I had lugged with me in my camera bag. As his band was on stage taking down their equipment, I asked a stage hand as to whether Adam would be cool signing the LP for me. He shouted up to Adam and he jumped from the stage to greet me. A very real, and modest man, he was happy to sign my LP and was genuinely pleased (I could see it in his eyes) when I told him that their performance blew my mind. I asked him some more questions about the rest of his tour, and then went on my way; but needless to say, knowing that the man behind the music was as genuine and modest as the other, looking me in the eyes and paying attention to me with my small talk, made me appreciate his art more than ever.