The War On Drugs have become one of the best rock and roll bands working today. In fact, the ensemble rock band seems to be a fading thing. With the exception of a handful of bands, The War On Drugs seem to be a dying breed. They make earnest, blue collar music that feels both radio ready(if the radio you’re listening to is located in 1984) and also a little left field. Guitars, keys, big drums, and poetic lyrics waxing ecstatic about the old days and how it’s all changed.
Damn, I guess I kind of miss those days.
Thankfully The War On Drugs are keeping the spirit of big anthem, arena-ready rock and roll alive. Their newest album, and second release for Atlantic Records called I Don’t Live Here Anymore will arrive on October 29th. Title track “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” seems to sum up everything I love about this band, which is great melodies, tasteful use of keys, great guitar work, and Adam Granduciel’s poetic lyrics.
The War Of Drugs have established a sound, and that sound is part 80s arena rock ala Petty, Springsteen, The Hooters, and The Church. But there are still those hazier influences, the ones that really came out on their second album Slave Ambient. They were still there on Lost In The Dream, but since then it’s less about the ambient, sonic experimentation and more about songcraft and moving the listener. Nothing wrong with that, and I think with this latest single Granduciel’s found a great middle ground for the pop songcraft and sonic experimentation.
The background vocals by pop band Lucius add a touch of light to the song, as Granduciel reminisces about seeing Bob Dylan with a friend, even though he states “I don’t live here anymore.” The song moves along on a steady rhythm as guitars and keys coalesce beautifully together.
Adam Granduciel has also become one of my favorite rock guitarists. Much like Jeff Tweedy’s playing on A Ghost Is Born, Granduciel’s playing is refined, but feels a bit wily as well. His leads are wobbly, as if they could go off the rails at any time yet he keeps it together.
This is a great song that works because the band deliver by pulling you into the world they’ve created. The War On Drugs continue to impress. I cannot wait for October 29th.