The War on Drugs

Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)

Rating: NNNN

The War on Drugs make the old new. The Philadelphia band’s third album, like their 2011 breakthrough, Slave Ambient, brings to mind a more hypnotic Springsteen, a more sprawling Tom Petty, a less verbose Bob Dylan, a hazier Fleetwood Mac. But then there are the motorik drum loops, and always that heavy, somewhat bleak backdrop of reverb-drenched keyboards and guitars.

Adam Granduciel, the band’s songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer, spent the last two years layering and then obsessively sculpting the 10 songs into evocative modern-Americana masterpieces. Take seven-minute An Ocean In Between The Waves, a master class in how to subtly build, tear down and then rebuild a song for greatest impact (and most transcendent ending – those Springsteen hoots!). Or, if you love uplifting Heartland hooks, Red Eyes delivers big.

The lyrics are buried and impressionistic, referencing disappearing, darkness and an inability to see. The album may have been borne in a fog, but the result finds Granduciel on the other side of the murk.

Top track: Red Eyes

The War on Drugs play the Horseshoe on April 14 and Lee’s Palace April 15.

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