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Record Store Day: The War on Drugs - “Thinking of a Place” (2017) review


Record Store Day:
The War on Drugs - Thinking of a Place (Atlantic Records, 2017)

In the last eighteen months the only thing we’ve heard from War On Drugs was their addition to the Day of the Dead compilation, with the song “Touch of Gray.” Now with rumors having swirled for entirely too long, finally the heavens have parted and we’ve been treated to their new intoxicating eleven minute epic “Thinking of a Place,” delivered on a vinyl format of 5500 copies worldwide.

The song is filled with gentle meandering fuzzed out guitar solos, and a rich sonic layering that never rises above a whisper, yet this nearly ghostly musical vision sits with a patience that doesn’t so much unfold, more that it moves along with a sense of observation, one where Granduciel is ever present in that he’s now, though his music, a gentle breezy guiding hand, coming off like a silent best friend riding shotgun as the orange sun highlights the horizon, pointing out with a smile points of interest as the morning light begins to give the countryside definable shapes. With the song coming off as a hazy half remembered dream, sounding nearly impossible to have been captured, he’s managed to breath life into this vision, coaxing the song into life, like the nostalgic magic of instamatic film that slowly ebbs into reality.

If we were able to glimmer a tenderness from the 2014 album Lost In The Dream, here we are able to see into the very heart and soul of a man who has now totally blurred the edges, and lays down a number that follows up his last outing in the only manner he possible. Each time I hear a War On Drugs song for the first time I don’t believe they can get any better, nevertheless they do, they continue to develop, to move forward, seeming never to be looking back, yet taking their time with each new outing to string together memories from the past, so that through his assembly of top notch musicians, Adam moves us into ever deeper and warmer waters, as if he’s been struggling all along to find that moment of his birth, if not his conception.

- Jenell Kesler
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