By Scott T. Sterling
From Daft Punk‘s GRAMMY-dominating Random Access Memories finding common ground between Chic‘s disco orchestras and Steely Dan to Haim‘s Days Are Gone rifling through ’80s Fleetwood Mac and the oeuvre of Toto to power the band’s pop tunes, it seems wearing your musical influences on your sleeve, isn’t such a bad thing anymore.
The War on Drugs, which once included Kurt Vile among its founding members, seems to have embraced some of those same retro leanings on the Philly band’s third studio album, the aptly titled Lost in the Dream. Frontman Adam Granduciel employs swirling synthesizers and bleating saxophones into the mix, updating the band’s warped Americana sound right into the heart of the big ’80s.
Epic opening number “Under the Pressure” sets the stage for the rest of the album. The sprawling, nearly nine-minute expanse of percussion helps Granduciel channel Dire Straits‘ Mark Knopfler. The dreamy, trance-like vibe drifts off into a cloud of reverb and effects that set the stage for lead single, “Red Eyes,” with its urgent rhythm and piano melodies reminiscent of Springsteen circa 1987’s Tunnel of Love.
Listen to Lost in the Dream in full on NPR.
The War on Drugs have set an extensive North American tour to support the new album, kicking off in Kingston, NY, on March 15.