War on Drugs

posted by dpm on 03/05/2012

It is no surprise when you combine the likes of Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel that the result will be of storied proportions. Individually, each artist has etched out a corner in the labyrinth of melodic psychedelia, but together, under the handle War on Drugs, these men waste no time mulling over the minutia.  While there are heavy hints of classic rock influence smattered handily throughout Slave Ambient, these men portray their obvious homage, not in the form of blatant piracy, but in a version smeared with modern aplomb and characteristic of the bread and butter they were raised on.  No, these guys just know how to rock!

Yes, the core of classic rock—Americana style—has been re-animated and injected with a slight air of ambience.   Since its release in August of 2011, Slave Ambient has received decorative honors from aficionados coast to coast, gracing college radio stations from dawn ‘til dusk.  This album has proven what can be done with brass tax.  A re-purposing, if you must, of some of the greatest characteristics of some of THE best artists of our time.  The opening three tracks, ‘Best Night,’ ‘Brothers’ and ‘I Was There’ hearken back to a time when the haunting prophecies of Lou Reed and Bob Dylan ruled the airwaves; when dusty roads and no-where-America were romanticized by dreamers and transcendalists.  Big shoes to fill for such a small outfit from Philly? Not really.  What is so great about the troupe of War on Drugs is their fastidious confidence to pull it off.  Tracks such ‘Come to the City’ and ‘It’s Your Destiny’ are true blue-collar anthems, slanted more toward wrestling brutal offwidths in the Valley, rather than clipping up a pegboard in Rifle. This album IS the working man’s (and woman’s) record, and if I had my druthers, every copy purchased would come with a pair of worn-at-the-knees dungarees and 3 or 4 Hexes. Cleaning up the album is ‘Original Slave’, an instrumental tune with an unmatched, cresting insolence, and the darkly lit ode to no one, ‘Blackwater’.

Be aware:  When you purchase Slave Ambient, know that you will be getting an overhauled  '73 Camaro in Prius clothing (whatever the hell that means?!).  Available on Amazon for the best $9.99 you’ve spent in a long, long while.  

-Christopher Duca