I've been following War On Drugs on their current tour, and will be home by the 16th of December when they roll into Philadelphia; home for both them and me. I haven't had this much fun since I rocked around the southwest with Wilco, wondering why no one has thought to set these two bands on the road together, where they'd hang like windblown weathered signs, directing demented fans of the sublime to venues filled with crackling speakers, droning keyboards, layered lo-fi acoustic buzz, wondering shifting lead guitars, and sleepy bleary-eyed percussions that create a touchable organic atmospheric haze ... one where they're rocking me back so far I nearly fall over. Then again this could just be my present state of mind, a state War On Drugs enhances to the max, leaving me stumbling for a seat, and stuttering for words.
War On Drugs isn't so much a band as it's a concept, one similar to what Pete Kember [Sonic Boom] creates with Spectrum, the brainchild of visionary Adam Granducial, a man's who's influences are worn on his sleeve, bending notes and ideas to shimmer a new musical vision across a star filled sky. If you're new to"Wagonwheel Blues," it's not like their later material, never the less, it is the groundwork which serves as a base for their future outings. Most of the songs are top notch, save for the two instrumentals, and I've know idea why they were included, other then to add more product, because they certainly don't act as lead-ins to the following numbers. There are some delightful surprises as well ... as when "A Needle In Your Eye #16" hits the four minute mark and you're suddenly aware that the same two chords have been played over and over for the entire song, yet the raptured intoxication is so uplifting that it's impossible not to smile and shake one's head with befuddlement and dive back in for more.
Review by Jenell Kesler