This weekend the War on Drugs return to LA with two sold out shows at the Troubadour, Friday with White Laces opening, and Saturday with Line & Circle. Frontman Adam Granduciel and the band are touring in support of their latest album Lost in the Dream (out now on Secretly Canadian).
Their previous album Slave Ambient, an undulating roadtrip of a record was their breakthrough album. Just the mention of the War on Drugs brings to mind late nights on the now-defunct turntable.fm when night shifters and insominacs had run through all the playlists and all the new tracks, someone would play “Black Water” or “Baby Missiles” then just play it again. Chatter evaporated in a room where easy choices were routinely called out as #LHF “Low Hanging Fruit,” which is to say that the War in Drugs had the power to silence and bliss out the critics, or at least a roomful of the most passionate writers and music lovers.
Lost in the Dream is a new level of confidence and maturity. Granduciel wrote the songs on the album and recorded many alone. While Lost in the Dream is Granduciel’s project, colored by heartbreak of a disintegrating relationship, it is informed by two years of touring as a band who are so much a given that their physical presence was not even required for all parts of the project. Like Slave Ambient the new album is rambling road trip music. It wears its classic rock influences --Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Rod Stewart--on its sleeve, but offhandedly with a shrug. On first listen it washes over you, sinks in without you realizing it, planting seeds of ideas to come back to. The relaxed feel, this Sunday morning vibe belies the complexity and perfectionism of the album's making, which reveals itself slowly over repeated listens. This weekend's shows promise to be some of the best live music this year.
The War on Drugs play Friday April 4 (with White Laces) and Saturday April 5 (with Line & Circle) at the Troubadour (9081 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood CA, 90069). All ages, doors open at 8pm. Both shows are sold out.