The drugs do work

Tune in and spin out, broth­ers and sis­ters

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The War On Drugs

A Deeper Un­der­stand­ing ★★★★ Imag­ine, some­where on the La air­waves, there’s a sta­tion that you can only pick up from a con­vert­ible ra­dio after mid­night. Its skunk-blasted DJS play noth­ing but the dis­tant, hazy sound of ’80s soft rock – Bryan adams, For­eigner, Don Hen­ley’s ‘Boys Of Sum­mer’, eric Car­men’s ‘Hun­gry eyes’ – merged to­gether into an end­less nar­cotic drawl of slick nightrider riffs and husky vo­cals that sound like Bruce Hornsby flick­ing a mul­let over the raised col­lar of a red leather jacket.

This, es­sen­tially, is where the mu­sic of The War On Drugs’ adam gran­duciel lives, and lovers of the plush para­noia of 2014’s break­through al­bum ‘Lost In The Dream’ will be re­lieved that his fourth out­ing doesn’t touch that dial. From the open­ing high­way pi­ano jud­der of

‘Up all night’ it’s like los­ing your­self once more in some lost golden age of MOR.

But gran­duciel is a rein­ven­tor rather than a recre­ator – his vi­sion of ’80s pop-rock is warped through the prism of sec­ond-wave shoegaze. These songs revel in their spa­cious­ness, like three­minute driv­e­time an­thems from 1986 set free from their ra­dio ed­its to muck around with 2017’s od­dest noises for seven min­utes at a time. gran­duciel’s mu­sic is such a sump­tu­ous wal­low we don’t mind mov­ing for­ward by the inch.

This is the only War On Drugs that should con­tinue, be­cause it’s work­ing. Tune in. Mark Beau­mont

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