Posts Tagged ‘Adam Granduciels’

The War On DrugsLost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
To deduce the overarching themes of this Philadelphia band’s third album, just scan the track list, which almost reads like a cry for help, given that War on Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel is evidently “Under the Pressure” with “Red Eyes,” “Suffering” while crossing “An Ocean in Between the Waves,” “Burning” and on the way to “Disappearing” “In Reverse.”

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All of which is to say that, yeah, “Lost in the Dream” is less than a merry affair. Between the songs’ obsessively recurring lyrical images (pain, darkness, disappearance, broken hearts) and the real-life backstory — Adam Granduciel reportedly split with his girlfriend in the early stages of putting the record together — it’s tempting to take this as a breakup album focused more on the Lost than the Dream.

He’s known as a perfectionist, particularly when he’s making an album, and no doubt this intense attention to detail is an essential building block of his music, but watching his band live, you don’t look at the stage and see a control freak. You see someone channeling the music in a way that few others could ever approach, and the magnitude of it all necessarily makes everything else look minor by comparison. There’s something unchained about it all, as though his talent gives him the freedom to let the music run wild. It’s all perception, but genius has that way of erasing the middle steps between idea and execution, so that while the others are painting by numbers, with someone like Granduciel it seems to flow unchanged from an origin you’d never be able to find by simply re-tracing his steps

If 2011’s Slave Ambient represented a breakthrough, this one is an out-and-out star-maker that should rank among the year’s best albums. Simultaneously spare and just as fully fleshed out as it needs to be, Dream is a perfect distillation of Granduciel’s wide-open claustrophobia. The sound is more expansive than ever, even as its maker’s songs seem more personal and less universal.