The consensus 2014 album of the year from most critical outlets, The War On Drugs’ aptly-titled (due to its hypnotic, dreamy music) Lost In The Dream largely lives up to its lofty press clippings. This atmospheric 60-minute “neo-psychedelic” album has a multi-colored sound palette, and its 10 long-ish songs really hit on impressive grooves, particularly on album highlights such as “Under The Pressure,” “Red Eyes” (the albums most famous and probably best song), and “An Ocean Between The Waves.” There are many other strong songs as well, and the album works both as an excellent guitar album and as a singularly cohesive whole whose cumulative sum exceeds its impressive individual parts. Perhaps a song or two is less than essential (“The Haunting Idle” in particular is an atmospheric space filler but it’s also by far the shortest song on the album), and like most albums the second half here is less memorable than side one on the whole, though it too has notable standouts such as “Eyes To The Wind” and “Burning.” Other things worth noting are that the vocals of Adam Granduciel (also the main songwriter and a talented multi-instrumentalist) are typically secondary to the music (there are quite a bit of extended instrumental passages), and that there’s an occasional boredom factor that’s more than made up for by the album’s consistent beauty and exciting more rocking moments. All in all, this is an instant classic (despite the loud protestations of Mark Kozelek) that really rewards repeat plays, and I also recommend checking out the solo work of former band member Kurt Vile.
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