A Deeper Understanding

In 2011, The War On Drug’s Slave Ambient came out and blew a small number of minds (this writer’s included). But it wasn’t until 2014’s Lost In A Dream that the larger public ear caught wind of mastermind Adam Granduciel’s brilliant comprehension of a well-made song. This newest release—the band’s first on a major label—feels almost like an extension of the last. It’s a hazy yet punch-packed, well-crafted batch of 1980s-acknowledging tunes. The songs are of the same ilk as those of some of rock history’s great pop-makers—Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and on “Clean Living,” Rod Stewart. While too much production can sometimes just be too much, the effect here is that of a watercolor; pieces overlapping with such gradual delicacy that the overall vision is seamless. There isn’t much that differentiates each tune as its own—especially on the drum front on the upbeat numbers—but regardless, as a whole, it stays on the mark.