The War On Drugs - Lost in the Dream

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Three years removed from Slave Ambient and with a roster and song lineup entirely Kurt Vile-less, Adam Granduciel returns from the fringe with Lost in the Dream - 10 songs that expunges any notion that The War on Drugs' roster shakeup or near infinite tour schedule of the early years of this decade has had an adverse effect on their music.

The journey begins with "Under the Pressure" a 9 minute ethereal anthem that wakes you up and throws you out of bed and onto your feet amidst your morning commute. Upbeat cymbals via drum machine and walking piano keys create a sense of overwhelming urgency as you try to acclimate and let the music set in. Suddenly it does and Adam Granduciel's vocals finally break through and resonate perfectly. A nine minute opening track is a bold risk within itself but the gamble pays off with steep dividends as "Under the Pressure" establishes a rhetorical potency that stays throughout Lost In The Dream and permeates long after the record stops spinning.

Lost In The Dream is an honest hour of emotional mania, dejection, and self-identity coupled with a sound that reverberates classic Springsteen era arrangements

Much of Lost In The Dream was conceived upon Granduciel's well documented return to Philadelphia after extensive touring during 2011 and 2012. Returning home to a "normal" life that couldn't quite exist in the way he remembered it, Adam parted ways with a long time romance and fell into what some would call a morose state. The saying that sorrow produces creativity is true and "Red Eyes" and "Suffering" are introspective lenses into Adam's wound that are woven so abstract and beautiful that you can't help but relate. "Suffering" in particular has a hollow guitar riff that just bleeds emotional distress as Adam lyrically wrestles with the pain of togetherness. As cliche as the words sound on paper the music itself is anything but as Lost in the Dream feels brutally honest in an intimate way.

As depressing as Lost In The Dream lyrically can be, musically it really is anything but. Optimistic currents run deeply through "An Ocean in Between the Waves, another 7 minute bass line driven track that takes you on a run through of emotions belonging to both the night and day before washing out in sweet reverb. The album itself plays host to a myriad of take offs and landings from guitar, piano, harmonica, saxophone, drums, and synth - homage to some of the best whilst still maintaining a sense of originality. "Burning" is a synth-induced blister that much like "An Ocean in Between the Waves" that just screams prime '80s arena rock (not the hair stuff mind you). "Lost in the Dream" slows things down a bit with excellent piano and harmonica lead ins and outros and fades out before you've even realized the subtle beauty of it. The album closes with "Reverse," the magnum opus that rakes in all the melancholy and despondency of the nine tracks before it and leaves you at the bus stop at sunset with a reminder that none of it's going away and tomorrow is another day.

Lost In The Dream is an honest hour of emotional mania, dejection, and self-identity coupled with a sound that reverberates classic Springsteen era arrangements with disbursements of post alternative adolescence that reminds you you're not quite in the '80s either.

Total Score: 9.8

Editors' Choice

Russ Bashaw

Founder, Owner

Russ Bashaw founded AudioHammock in the summer of 2013 and continues to be an active contributor and editor. In addition to writing the occasional review Russ is also one of the hosts of the AudioHammock Podcast. Follow Russ on Instagram @russba1 or email him at

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