It’s easy to dismiss War On Drugs as another Sonic Youth soundalike band, but if you do that, you’ll be doing them, and yourself, a big disservice. On this,
the band’s debut full-length, the unfortunately named band breaks out some of the best Americanapsychedelia I’ve ever heard, making tough, druggy rock that’s as classic as it is contemporary. If there’s any justice, the band will be discussed alongside My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Pixies, Ryan Adams, and all the other indie greats.
What exactly is the album like? Well, “A Needle In Your Eye #16” sounds like Winn Butler covering
Springsteen’s “Working on the Highway.” “Arms Like Boulders,” like many of the songs on the record, has a strong Bob Dylan feel (from his mid-to-late ‘70s electrified period—the best Dylan out there). Even the instrumentals like “Reverse the Charges” and “Coast Reprise,” which some might call filler, fit nicely here—establishing mood and focus between songs that seem to be about everything and nothing at the same time. Indeed, War On Drugs have created an album—that elusive creature that has a beginning, middle, and end, and wasn’t made for this world of iTunes and mp3 downloads. “Wagonwheel Blues” is best listened to in its entirety, from track one to the end, so that you can bathe in its brilliance.
It is one of the best albums of the year, hands down.