A Deeper Understanding – The War On Drugs

As their fourth full-length release and follow up to 2014’s monumental Lost in the Dream, the Philadelphia outfit takes another step further along the path that is characteristically “The War On Drugs” with A Deeper Understanding. Meticulously crafted with a magnifying glass over 80’s and late 70’s-esque synth orchestral, Adam Granduciel and team willfully pinpoint ambience over the manifest of sounds that got them here. From the long stretching ballads like “Strangest Thing” and head-bobbing drives with “Holding On”, A Deeper Understanding contains all the cast of characters you adored about the group from their previous releases, but look no further that the kickoff song, “Up All Night” for the primary differentiator. Substituting trashcan snares over a piano bedrock, it certainly seems to come off as contrary to their rooted manuscript, but the song hits home as it carries on (in layman’s terms, it’s fair to say the band won’t be going full-electronic any time soon…). And with their knee-jerk tendencies of throwing in a ripping, reverb-laden guitar solo over the melodic drone of acoustic guitar on “Pain”, or anthem-like luscious synth-layering on “Strangest Thing”, A Deeper Understanding couldn’t be more of a classic The War On Drugs release. Slight and menial differences aside, prop this release next to Lost in the Dream on the record shelf, because albums like this don’t come around very often (in fact, The War On Drugs albums don’t come very often), and it’s a fantastic starting point if you are unfamiliar with the group.

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