A Deeper Understanding

Album Review of A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs.

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A Deeper Understanding

The War on Drugs

A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs

Release Date: Aug 25, 2017
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock

75 Music-Critic Score
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A Deeper Understanding - Very Good, Based on 3 Critics

The Line of Best Fit - 85
Based on rating 8.5/10

Coincidence or not, that the return of the Philadelphia band should be found within 'pain' is fitting, since the most profound aspect of Adam Granduciel's project, and thus the core reason for its far-reaching appeal, is its distinct and timeless way of turning worrying and heart-rending demons in on themselves in a sort of blissful, cathartic explosion. 2014's landmark opus Lost in the Dream realised this ability gloriously and crudely, remedying the abstract and fragmented thoughts of the Romantic by either welcoming them face-on and mindfully, as in "Suffering", or by pushing them with a driving sense of direction and purpose, as in "Under the Pressure", where anxiety and tension turn into whopping and whooping energy. Of course, the latter has brought the band cliched associations of music made for cruising on the open road, a result of the romantic connotations of their Americana and Springsteen-esque Dad Rock and the motorik, Kraftwerk-esque rhythms that drive each song.

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Record Collector - 80
Based on rating 4/5

A funny thing happened to The War On Drugs in 2014. After nine years of travelling off-piste cult acclaim routes, the Philly road-rock artisans left 2014 with a tank full of fame. Third album Lost In The Dream topped end-of-year polls, bigger venues were filled, and alt.rock grinch Mark Kozelek wrote an anti-tribute song in War On Drugs (Suck My Cock).

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Slant Magazine - 60
Based on rating 3.0/5

Loneliness and paranoia course through the War on Drugs's 2014 album Lost in the Dream, which frontman Adam Granduciel began writing during a bout of depression. A more subtle bleakness, however, pervades the band's follow-up, A Deeper Understanding. Both psychedelia-tinged albums share a similar sonic blueprint: hazy, 1980s-inspired heartland rock that shifts the Philadelphia indie rockers away from the folky, Dylan-esque sound of their earlier efforts.

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