Pulled downwards by a voice somewhere between Dylan and Springsteen (courtesy of singer Adam Granduciel), we sink slowly into the swirling cauldron of sulkiness that is the upcoming album and major label debut from The War On Drugs – ‘A Deeper Understanding’. Switching between apathy and angst, the album’s a lethargic, daydreaming teenager with a body of lead and a bleeding heart.
An early peak with second track ‘Pain,‘ a saviour if we’re talking about an album narrowly avoiding sounding ‘same-y’ and a beautiful song in its own right. Urgent guitar prangs give the impression of imminent internal meltdown and the lyrics paint frustration in perfect and poetic clarity – “I’m just pulling on a wire / but it just won’t break. I’ve been turning up the dial / but I hear no sound.”
We’re afforded a slight mood lift with ‘Holding On,‘ where a guitar hums dreamily in the background and sings along to Granduciel’s happy little scales. Maybe our teenager has a crush.
‘Knocked Down’ differs most from the other songs on the album in terms of form and a piano introduction, as well as a rare flash of spirit from our character – a hesitation which chops up the entire album before the assertion; “I wanna love you but I get knocked down.” Nevertheless the idea of being stuck/incapable remains and following that brave confession there’s the return of the same old apathy – “anyway…”
Long, droning guitar notes and a harmonica stretch out the record and add to the indulgent dreaminess which at this point has become comforting. By track seven, I’m fifteen again: Where are my cigarettes? Get out of my face, Mum.
“What do you think of the album, Honey?”
“S’alright, I guess.”
‘A Deeper Understanding’ is set to be released August 25th via Atlantic Records.