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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War on Drugs - The battle is won
There is a saying "that a beast with two heads is a monster". In the case of the scintillating Philadelphia rock outfit the "War on Drugs" (WOD) the two heads in questions are Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel who have determined to plough separate furrows but retain a very tight musical bond (Vile plays on a couple of tracks here) . Many of you will have already noted that...
Published on 19 Aug 2011 by Red on Black

versus
5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary Dreary Dreary, buy wilco instead.
gave this CD a real chance based on the favourable reviews this has received. Apart from a couple of tracks the end result is rather dreary and lacks a spark of humanity. The tracks amble along with no clear definition, and there are too many fillers.
A disappointing purchase but thats the way it goes some times.
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by J. Mackie


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War on Drugs - The battle is won, 19 Aug 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
There is a saying "that a beast with two heads is a monster". In the case of the scintillating Philadelphia rock outfit the "War on Drugs" (WOD) the two heads in questions are Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel who have determined to plough separate furrows but retain a very tight musical bond (Vile plays on a couple of tracks here) . Many of you will have already noted that Vile has recently produced a very fine record in the form of "Smoke rings for my halo" sardine packed with that type of roaring classic rock that made fortunes for Tom Petty, Bob Seger and John Fogerty. Thankfully Adam Granduciel has decided not to sit around twiddling his thumbs and set himself the task of matching his musical sparring partner. On the evidence of this new album "Slave Ambient" he has secured a very large points victory in terms of twelve musical rounds although not a complete knock out. This album takes a number of songs from the earlier Future Weather EP and reworks them but more importantly Granduciel follows Vile in cherry picking from American classic rock heritage not least Springteen, Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Gene Clark and Lou Reed but manages also to slip in a dash of My Bloody Valentine here, a small helping of the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen there and top it all with a nod to Arcade Fire. In less careful hands it could be a right old mess, but Adam Granduciel is no mere copyist and as a brilliant songwriter with smart tunes to spare he strategically locks down the whole kit and kaboodle with "Slave Ambient" being one of the most enjoyable releases of 2011.

Interestingly "Slave Ambient" is also one of those records that just hits you from the first listen and it makes complete sense. Take for example the stunning opener "Best Night" full of huge flowing guitar lines and a propulsive drive that makes you want to listen to it over and over as Granduciel intones that "I believe that I've been cursed, been drowned and reimbursed," His voice owes a large debt to Dylan and on the albums closer the lovely chiming acoustic "Black Water Falls" you feel that the sprit of his Bobness must have been pumped into the studio. Second track "Brothers" is a reworked version of the one found on Future Weather EP and completes the superb double whammy at the start of this album by matching "Best Night" in a song that powers along with an almost Lou Reed disdainful style vocal and again the best melodic lines this side of Wishbone Ash. These highlights are matched at various points in the record not least the with the thumping driving rock of the splendid "Your love is calling my name" a six minute rock driving anthem in the making and evidence that the War on Drugs are made for the American freeway with a level volume required for the the song to be heard in at least five neighbouring states. Some reviewers have suggested it to be the natural heir to Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" although the jurys still out on that claim. It is the music of Tom Petty alternatively that infuses the mid point song "Come to the city" although it is doubtful that Petty ever produced anything quite this sonically whacked out, especially the beast of a guitar backdrop which emerges in the third minute. The highlight of Future Weather EP was "Baby Missiles" and the reworked version is even better. It is the type of song that the Arcade Fire have monopolised over the last few years with a rather large riff, a Win Butler(ish) "shouty" vocal and a killer (if rather brief) harmonica solo. The beating instrumental which follows it "Original slave" does seem to have some continuity with Baby Missiles and as with the earlier instrumental "The Animator" both act as complimentary interludes or extensions to the main songs. Finally a mention must go to the rock strut of "Its my destiny" which has enough arrogance to start a bar fight, truly there is something special going on here.

War on Drugs "Slave Ambient" along with Kurt Vile's solo work shows that the beating heart of classic American Rock music is very much alive and full of vitality. In a short period of time this record with its swirling guitar lines, formidable synth back drops and hammering attack sounds like one of the main contenders for 2011 accolades, but more than that its one your going to need to seek out with undue haste. You really do need this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another happy discovery, 19 Feb 2013
By 
Ghostgrey51 (Britain) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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So y' know how it goes, Amazon sends you Recommendeds; some you ditch without a second thought, then others pique your curiosity, at this stage I always read the reviews which I value far and above any clutch of professionals. Now the idea of the influences of Dylan and Tom Petty always draw me in, but deeper reading of reviews and sample sounds made me feel this was worth a purchase. Good call Me!!
Yes the influence of these two legends is there in the drawl of the singer and some of the wistfulness of the lyrics, but to be fair to War on Drugs there is an element that separates them and this is the almost orchestral effect they create in an Atmosphere of Sound which reminds me as nothing so less as waves crashing made all the more so by a fast rhythmic pace which is as clear and refreshing as it is relentless.
I am quite sold on this and even at this stage am wondering if this is going to be one of my albums of the year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slave to the rhythm, 10 Feb 2012
This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
Brilliant, intelligent modern rock. Track after track of pure gold. The Dylan and Tom Petty influences are clear but the whole deal is sublimely varied with punk, groove and dreamy synth elements.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War on drugs - The battle is won, 22 Aug 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
There is a saying "that a beast with two heads is a monster". In the case of the scintillating Philadelphia rock outfit the "War on Drugs" (WOD) the two heads in questions are Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel who have determined to plough separate furrows but retain a very tight musical bond (Vile plays on a couple of tracks here) . Many of you will have already noted that Vile has recently produced a very fine record in the form of "Smoke rings for my halo" sardine packed with that type of roaring classic rock that made fortunes for Tom Petty, Bob Seger and John Fogerty. Thankfully Adam Granduciel has decided not to sit around twiddling his thumbs and set himself the task of matching his musical sparring partner. On the evidence of this new album "Slave Ambient" he has secured a very large points victory in terms of twelve musical rounds although not a complete knock out. This album takes a number of songs from the earlier Future Weather EP and reworks them but more importantly Granduciel follows Vile in cherry picking from American classic rock heritage not least Springteen, Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Gene Clark and Lou Reed but manages also to slip in a dash of My Bloody Valentine here, a small helping of the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen there and top it all with a nod to Arcade Fire. In less careful hands it could be a right old mess, but Adam Granduciel is no mere copyist and as a brilliant songwriter with smart tunes to spare he strategically locks down the whole kit and kaboodle with "Slave Ambient" being one of the most enjoyable releases of 2011.

Interestingly "Slave Ambient" is also one of those records that just hits you from the first listen and it makes complete sense. Take for example the stunning opener "Best Night" full of huge flowing guitar lines and a propulsive drive that makes you want to listen to it over and over as Granduciel intones that "I believe that I've been cursed, been drowned and reimbursed," His voice owes a large debt to Dylan and on the albums closer the lovely chiming acoustic "Black Water Falls" you feel that the sprit of his Bobness must have been pumped into the studio. Second track "Brothers" is a reworked version of the one found on Future Weather EP and completes the superb double whammy at the start of this album by matching "Best Night" in a song that powers along with an almost Lou Reed disdainful style vocal and again the best melodic lines this side of Wishbone Ash. These highlights are matched at various points in the record not least the with the thumping driving rock of the splendid "Your love is calling my name" a six minute rock driving anthem in the making and evidence that the War on Drugs are made for the American freeway with a level volume required for the the song to be heard in at least five neighbouring states. Some reviewers have suggested it to be the natural heir to Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" although the jurys still out on that claim. It is the music of Tom Petty alternatively that infuses the mid point song "Come to the city" although it is doubtful that Petty ever produced anything quite this sonically whacked out, especially the beast of a guitar backdrop which emerges in the third minute. The highlight of Future Weather EP was "Baby Missiles" and the reworked version is even better. It is the type of song that the Arcade Fire have monopolised over the last few years with a rather large riff, a Win Butler(ish) "shouty" vocal and a killer (if rather brief) harmonica solo. The beating instrumental which follows it "Original slave" does seem to have some continuity with Baby Missiles and as with the earlier instrumental "The Animator" both act as complimentary interludes or extensions to the main songs. Finally a mention must go to the rock strut of "Its my destiny" which has enough arrogance to start a bar fight, truly there is something special going on here.

War on Drugs "Slave Ambient" along with Kurt Vile's solo work shows that the beating heart of classic American Rock music is very much alive and full of vitality. In a short period of time this record with its swirling guitar lines, formidable synth back drops and hammering attack sounds like one of the main contenders for 2011 accolades, but more than that its one your going to need to seek out with undue haste. You really do need this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slave Ambient, 22 April 2012
By 
P. Bartlett (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
A real grower this one I bought it on the strength of hearing Come to the City which is the stand out track. The album has a trippy laid back vibe with hints of Tom Petty and Arcade Fire, but there's more to it than that....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating discovery, 7 Dec 2013
By 
Nicholas Rice (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
This album is my favourite musical discovery of the last few years. I have never heard anyone quite like them; they seem to pull together influences from different eras to create something totally new. Exhilarating, melancholy, reflective and full of wonder.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, 8 Oct 2011
This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
Wagonwheel Blues was very good, Slave Ambient is almost perfect. Adam Granduciel's influences are many and various - Dylan, Springsteen, My Bloody Valentine, Arcade Fire, REM and others - yet the songs he's written are all fresh and stamped with the unique sound that is the War on Drugs.

It's not a competition, obviously, but given that Granduciel and Kurt Vile were both in the band when Wagonwheel Blues came out, and that this new War on Drugs album (without Vile in the band) pretty much coincides with the release of Vile's solo album, Smoke Ring For My Halo, comparisons are inevitable. For me, Slave Ambient is streets ahead.

The first time I heard it, I was so knocked out by the beauty of Black Water Falls, that I thought the rest of the album was a bit lacking in comparison. I was completely wrong. Every track is as strong as that one, from the driving Best Night to the gorgeous ambient The Animator. It's all good. Chugging but inventive, never getting stuck in a single groove, and with Granduciel's sand-and-glue voice swooping over the jangly guitars and keyboard drone.

Since the initial Black Water Falls thing, just about every song has been a favourite for a while - I Was There, being the current one. Slave Ambient is just wonderful!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Album, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
This album was recommended to me ........and it is brilliant.
I have been listening to it on repeat in the car.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a journey of sound, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
I didnt know what to expect when i bought this album as i only purchased it due to a positve review in a national newspaper in the uk. First of all i personally class this album as a album of sound i have listened to it numerous times and still dont really remember any lyrics that stick with me , but the trancient theme of the album is mesmerising and whenever i feel the need to chill and focus on myself i whack this on the cd player and go along on its journey of sound. I would recommend this album to fellow music lovers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Drugs Do Work!, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Slave Ambient [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I've become a recent convert to this "americana" - well Canadian actually but it draws you in and it's lush layers are hypnotic.
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Slave Ambient
Slave Ambient by The War on Drugs (Audio CD - 2011)
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