6/10 Clinton Staff review, 13 March 2014
It comes to something where the general consensus is that its a positive thing if a record sounds like Don Henley’s post Eagles solo career. No-one likes a bit of good old L.A top- down yacht rock more than me but the late 80’s synth rock on this War On Drugs album gets a bit wearing when about half way through every track seems to start rolling into one.
The influences are obviously taken from things I (secretly) admire: Roxy Music’s sleek swansong ‘Avalon’, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham’s 80’s solo records (particularly ‘Red Eyes’ -a dead ringer for anything off ‘Law and Order’) and most obviously ‘Tunnel of Love’ era Bruce Springsteen. Its true to say there are some glorious West Coast glimmering synth atmospheres in some of these tracks. They all are awash with luscious synths synth muso-like Phil Manzanera guitar twiddlings, beautifully played in executive studios possibly by men with ponytails. The issue I’m having is that its all too much, like having an extra slice of yacht rock pudding or listening to a Kenny Loggins album all the way through, the tracks are lengthy, prone to elongated outros and contain guitar solos that last 18 dog years. The other thing is whether intentionally or not, vocalist Adam Granduciel sings the same vocal line on every track making him come across like a forgetful and malfunctioning Don Henley.Of modern groups only the blue collar flag waving stadium pop of Arcade Fire comes close.
Taken in small portions it’s a quite lovely way to nestle in some 80’s soft rock for awhile but I dare anyone to listen to it in one sitting. File under: Adult Contemporary.
10/10 CollectorCharlie Customer review, 3rd November 2016
When I saw a human being give this album a 6/10, I had to write a review to explain how totally off his rocker this person must be to give that rating. This is sonic perfection, boldly taking us listeners into a new realm that is a mixture of good ol' rock and roll, Spector's Wall of Sound, and melodies that will have you either tapping your foot or hand the beat of each song. After Kurt Vile left this band after Wagonwheel Blues, I wondered if they would quit, keep playing and turn into utter suite, or somehow create and perfect their own sound.
This may happen to be the one time where indie music sites consistently had it at the best album of the year, or in the top three. Giving it a 6/10, or 3/5 for those of us who may be maths challenged, is a failing grade. 60%. Think about that. I usually agree with the ratings on this site, but this was so egregious I had to tell the truth. Well, my truth. This is one of the most fantastic albums I have ever listened to since its release. Vocals are perfection, and the loveliest melodies accompany them. This record deserves friggin awards, not a shite ratings and reviews from these "critics". The old saying "Those that cannot do, teach", becomes those that cannot do or teach write a review which makes about as much sense as taking a dump on your new boss's desk only to be caught on the obvious security cameras leading to your immediate firing.
On this site I've seen you give terrible records higher ratings for those I wouldn't use as toilet paper if I just shit and the roll that was installed was empty. This is absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a 10/10 record. Yes, that's 100% (not 60%, 100%). If you don't have a copy (which is unlikely if you actually enjoy great music), with a few clicks of the mouse you can own forever this album for only around one hour's worth of work. Completely disregard the 6/10 rating, I'm sure he/she/it has not listened to it. Not trying to rattle anyone's bones, but really? Buy the damn album and you will thank yourself and whatever god is out there. 10+
EDITORS NOTE: *Each to their own an' that but I listened to this album 10-15 times before the review and I still think it sounds like a long boring Dire Straits and I'm not the only one in this office who thinks that way. We value the opinion of those who disagree with us but to suggest that we gave it 6/10 because we couldn't be arsed is utter bollocks. = Clint*
8/10 Simon Shaw Customer review, 6th April 2014
A Sunday afternoon record if ever I heard one, the third War On Drugs album is in no hurry to work its magic, its ten sprawling songs unfurl at a leisurely pace and every detail sounds meticulously measured. The title track for instance begins with a beautiful guitar line soaked in reverb, some mournful harmonica, a simple piano riff before vocalist Adam Granduciel chimes in channelling Dylan rather brilliantly. Everything sounds so deliberate, so wonderfully in place and so very familiar. On it’s first spin, you’ll feel like you already have a relationship with theses songs with so many classic influences running through its veins. Like worn in slippers there’s a lot of comfort to be found in this LP. But the best moments are when the band raise the tempo a little, ‘Red Eyes’ and ‘Burning’ smoulder with a driving momentum that break up the more mesmerising haze of the slow burners that make up the majority of the album. If you wanted to be picky, the perfectionist production and timeless classic rock sound can leave any sense of spontaneity at the door, this is essentially dad-rock after all. Its also the best dad rock you are ever likely to hear.
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