Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: The War On Drugs, Lost In The Dream

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Album cover for Lost in the Dream.
Album cover for Lost in the Dream.

Who knows whether Adam Granduciel - songwriter, and driving force behind Philadelphia quartet The War On Drugs - was introduced to the delights of Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, and Bob Seger, by his father, but it sure sounds like he could have been.

It's not so much that his third album sounds like any of those acts, or is a tribute to 70s rock, but there's something in the synth and organ parts (there's an organ phrase in Burning that reminds of Dire Straits' Walk Of Life, for example), the guitar sounds, and the drum samples that have all the nostalgic pleasure that you get from those classic albums.

It's not a homage - Granduciel is too modern in his lush layering and phrasing to make you think you've accidentally wandered into a working class bar, circa 1982. In fact the band that springs to mind as a true comparison is the Phoenix Foundation - their soaring melodies, driving rhythm section, swirling, tropical grooves, and the dry-wry delivery can be heard easily in tracks like Under Pressure, Red Eyes, and An Ocean Between The Waves.

Granduciel has a lovely way with words that prick at the facade of life too.

"I'm just a bit run down here at the moment," he sings on the Bob Dylan-esque Eyes to the Wind. It's a vulnerable tune, but he manages to do it without being depressing.

Even lines like "Why are we here, when we're both gonna fake it?" on Suffering have a certain warmth and kindness in among the doubt, and that's the key to the heart-breaking charm of Lost In The Dream.

Verdict: Mesmerising, lush, modern dad rock
Click here to buy Lost in The Dream.

- TimeOut

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