Out 25th August.
Review by Urussa Malik.
The fourth installation by The War on Drugs, by the name of A Deeper Understanding, has quite a classic sound to it. The previous album Lost in the Dream was critically acclaimed and the follow-up seems to suggest it was nothing to do with luck or fate. Indeed, as emotions drove the previous album’s lyrical success, the same formula has been applied to this album – potentially with even greater success.
The War on Drugs includes a selection of melodies from ‘Thinking of a Place’, which starts eerily. At 11:10 seconds long, it is the longest song of the album, perhaps being the harbinger of emotion. It is my favourite song ofrom the album, with the guitar solo serenading the listener. Similarly, ‘Strangest Things’ has a distinct beginning; Granduciel’s clearest voice so far is still managing to mesh with the instruments. Drums make for an interlude, leading to an emphatic change of tone in the song. The lyrics of “living in the space between beauty and the pain/It’s the strangest thing” make for an oxymoronic feel, perhaps alluding to the title of the song itself.
‘Holding On’ engages with imagery of the ‘highway’ – potentially acting as a metaphor for the difficulty of transition and change. The notion of time plays a pivotal part in this song. It is a pretty sound, with the guitar making it a good song to dance to, albeit pessimistically.
‘Pain’ is a mournful direction, with typical lyrics of rain and time ‘standing still’. Perhaps a past love is described as the lyrics portray a defiant tone with: “I resist what I cannot change”. Perhaps it works in two ways, presenting the unrelenting forces of change that humanity eventually caves in to.
A more upbeat song is ‘Up all night’. Written and engineered by Adam Granduciel, there are remarks about feelings and feelings past, with a guitar solo adding to the feeling of euphoria.
A Deeper Understanding seems to be a more covert follow up of the previous album, though it feels just as genuine. The band is set to go on tour in September, evidencing their success. If you like the heartfelt post-rock genre, then this is the album for you.