The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
When The War on Drugs signed a two-album deal with Atlantic Records in 2015, there was a lot of hype. They just came off a breakout record, Lost in the Dream, an album produced during a time of intense isolation and depression for front man Adam Granduciel. Lost in the Dream was a critically-acclaimed, haunting trip descending into the psyche of its lead singer and guitarist, deeply searching for something, and perhaps even finding it.
The band’s new album, aptly titled A Deeper Understanding, explores further Granduciel’s consciousness, but this time from higher ground. Granduciel indulges in triumphant guitar solos on this album, backed by the band’s urgent and undulating drums. His voice mimics Bruce Springsteen’s earnestness, but with more abstraction in his lyricism. All of this ultimately leads to a very 80’s guitar-rock inspired sound. Make no mistake, though, because The War on Drugs’ sound is 100% themselves and by no means contrived.
This album is very much one that demands to be felt, nearly as much as it needs to be listened to. I would argue that such was the same for the band’s previous album, too. The main difference I’d contend between this album and their prior release in this context, however, is the consistent energy provided in it. It’s basically a bullet train with few stops.
Through their signing with Atlantic, the band is also able to produce a much more polished sound. This works incredibly well for the sheer epicness that they went for. It’s an accessible album for all. With the majority of songs being over 6 minutes, there are slower points, but they just help capitalize the forceful moments so much more. For all intents and purposes, this album sonically gives you a much deeper understanding of the concentrated, intense state of mind Adam Granduciel has acquired over the years.