"The War on Drugs" create music from a "cacophony sound" of reverb, echo plex, etc,

Last year a CD recording called   " A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING"   by the band ..."The War on Drugs"  ( a kind of stupid name)  was reviewed in the "Absolute Sound" and received a more than a favorable review. I thought the music interesting and at times very good. Compose/musician Daniel Granduceil  has a beguiling and unique voice and sounds often like Bob Dylan

I did not realize, they have been around for several years and bought the CD  "Lost in a Dream" recorded  between August 2012 and November 2013.  Several fair songs are unfortunately couched in a cacophony of electronic reverb, echo chamber hash, and other digital or computer derived sound. Granduciel's voice (and song lyrics) is buried in this haze  and this mishmash of sound  It is a shame because several compositions are good, but electronic gadgetry distorts and often destroys the rhythm and shape of the music.  I generally understand the direction that electronic based music goes, and its innovation. But this CD ( whether poorly recorded, produced, etc ) pushes beyond the limits of this genre of rock.

Would like to hear other comments about this band ( maybe, this was just a bad outing for the group; they seemed to use a lot of different personnel to record this album.







I’ve only listened to “Pain” and another one or two tracks by this band and my thoughts are similar....IMO, (and I am neither a musician nor a recording technician) the group has some real artistic prowess going that allows them to trample all over good recording conventionality to powerful expressive effect.  I can’t decide-for-myself if this works in their favor every time they do it but one instance, on the aforementioned song “Pain” where a lead guitar riff probably sends the needles on somebody’s VU meters so far into the red that they’re bent at a 90 degree angle, “works” extremely well in that musical moment, IMO...

   To  lg1

Thank you for your comments. At least I am not crazy or getting senile  I agree especially about the band having "real artistic prowess"  It comes down to how far can you push artistic expression without it being clear and accessible.

Modern literature took a turn similar to this during the  deconstruction  movement  of the 1960's and 1970's  Generally its theory of composition was that the writer had no responsibility to the reader to explain or traditionally represent his ideas.  Generally, clarity of expression was sacrificed for context and  the author's representation,not necessarily meaning. It was the reader's responsibility to navigate the context for itself.  This may not be the best explanation of this genre of literature which failed as literary expression, even among its most avid committed devotees

In the case of "War on Drugs"  technical sound innovations should not be the aim of the band, however way they see it. The music and the musical craftsmanship that delivers it must be present and there. Distorting or enhancing it can be useful and part of the music, but when it gets in the way of the music and the musician's performance talents, it degrades both and makes it inaccessible to the audience.


I would agree that some of the reverb and distortion can be distracting at times, especially with some of their tracks through a good majority of their albums.

Definitely not something I’d put on to test a system or late night listening. On the other hand they’re usually my go-to on a mixed CD-R when I have a long drive.

Always thought Comin’ Through was exceptional on their Future Weather album. As a whole, I preferred their most recent release, A Deeper Understanding.

I'm a big fan of War On Drugs. They're fantastic live and hail from Philly. I'd put Lost in the Dream in the top spot of WOD albums...also worth checking out Kurt Vile's (former lead guitarist) solo work. Bottle it In is a great album...check out the tracks Bbassakwards or Check Baby. The reverb is definitely part of the sound, and in my opinion translates very well in a live show.