War on Drugs albums
Slave Ambient – (5 / 5)
When Slave Ambient hit in 2011, it was needed more than ever. There needed to be a band that combined classic rock with 80’s and 90’s elegance. The main single off the album, “Baby Missiles” sounded exactly like a mix of Paul Simon’s “The Obvious Child” and Neu’s “Hologalo”. The singer recalled both Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, while the band recalled Dire Straits and their most chilled out. That ambient quality though, the one inherited from bands like Stereolab and Jesus and Mary Chain, prevails over the classic rock just enough to make it sound timeless. “I Was There” owes more than a little bit to Rickie Lee Jones; even obscure references come though like Everclear and Band of Susans in certain place. The defining songs- “Best Night”, “Come to the City”, and “Your Love is Calling My Name” achieve a perfect mix of all of the rock innovations of the last 50 years to such a perfect extent that it may turn out that War on Drugs DEFINES the sound of the 2010’s. In fact, if any band does as of 2015, it is War on Drugs. What is funny is we didn’t even know we needed them.
Greatest Tracks: Your Love Is Calling My Name, Come to the City, Best Night, Black Water Falls
Lost in the Dream – (4.5 / 5)
The follow up to the brilliant Slave Ambient definitely follows a different path. The songs are longer and get to breathe more and it is more suited to a driving experience. “Under the Pressure” kicks it off and kind of sums up the record: beautiful, ambient, synth heavy, overblown, ambitious. When the songs work like that one works, the record is a gorgeous experience. “An Ocean in the Waves”, “Eyes to the Wind”, “Burning” continue on this path, and it does mix the old (Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, etc.) with the new (Yo La Tengo, Stereolab) in bold ways. Is it overlong and bloated? Well, I don’t really think so. Rather it requires a certain kind of patience that a lot of music does not; it expects you to come down to its level. It makes War on Drugs a unique band in our era: they are not an alternative/indie rock band at all: they are classicist and traditionalist in the best sense of the words.
Greatest Tracks: Under the Pressure, Eyes to the Wind, Burning