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The third album from Philadelphia band War On Drugs finds main man Andy Granduciel filling his hazy, melodic sound with scattered layers, long tones, and phantom drum machines, delivering a record that could soundtrack any road trip. Lost in the Dream represents the trials of the journey and the triumphs of its destination.

“Under the Pressure” starts the set with piercing electronic sounds and then kicks into a galloping rock song with wailing guitars before settling into two and a half minutes of synthesized shoegaze, an undulating sea of delayed panoramic guitar feedback and keyboards.

War on Drugs nods to the singer-songwriter styles of Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, adding drum machines and synths for a recognizable ’80s sound. The single “Red Eyes” is a bouncy rock journey intertwined with tremolo lead guitars, saxophone, and floating synthesizers that sounds like Funeral-era Arcade Fire; follower “Suffering” is a heartfelt melancholic ballad backed by plaintive piano and guitar. The title track epitomizes Dream’s ’80s-radio daze, with its driving ticktack rhythm a la Dire Straits and a Springsteen-style lyric.

On their last two albums, the band has explored an array of genres, including folk-rock, krautrock, and even giving us something reminiscent to the sound of Neu! and New Order. Though repetitive in parts, Dream’s a head-nodding, rapid-fire record that ends just as quickly, and satisfyingly, as it starts.

  • Album: Lost in the Dream
  • Artist: War on Drugs
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
  • Songs: 1. Under the Pressure 2. Red Eyes 3. Suffering 4. An Ocean in Between the Waves 5. Disappearing 6. Eyes to the Wind 7. The Haunting Idle 8. Burning 9. Lost in the Dream 10. In Reverse
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