It’s a Sunday evening and the feeling is ripe to finally disappear into The War On Drugs latest album: ‘A Deeper Understanding’ the long anticipated fourth studio album, and follow-up to, 2014’s ‘Lost in the Dream’. With a band that take a few leaf’s from America’s ‘Great Bards’; Dylan, Petty and Springsteen, the Philadelphian psych-rock band have been a longstanding favourite of mine. From start to finish where inevitable emotions run high, I’m addicted to this sadness, truth comes to light as I listen in, wholly invested in Granduciel’s every line; melancholy poetry that reaches it’s peak on Thinking Of A Place. The record is mediative in it’s dualism within a monologue style, a narrator questioning themselves, their relationships, love and life. The dual/duel within this character is soon at a peace, they are reunited with themself, life is reaffirmed: “Hold my hand as something turns to me; turns me into you” (Thinking Of A Place).
The soothing effect is achieved through the resonation with the listener attuned to the ‘deeper understanding’, we feel this confusion between love and pain, a perfect negotiation between light and darkness; “Is this love? Are you sure? Is it something you can control? I’m in chains, I’m in love” (In Chains). And it’s the pathos that provides the warmth here. A perfect musical antithesis arrives with the pensive piano melody of Knocked Down punctuated by the upbeat driving synths delivered by Nothing To Find.
As the journey sets out, there is initial distrust in love: “I don’t believe in the real thing” (Up All Night) to the closing song’s cathartic and reinstalled faith: “singing all my songs in the pouring rain…I can feel the change” (You Don’t Have To Go). Irony resides within an album of very much heartbreak and scepticism; this is in every essence a romantic record, akin to Ten Fé’s ‘Hit The Light’ in it’s arresting balance of chiaroscuro; love/light and dark/pain. Timeless. All our inner confusions are dissolved and a greater sense of self is achieved.
‘A Deeper Understanding’ was released on 25/08/17 via Atlantic Records.