Slave ambient is a very appropriate name for this album full of, well, ambient guitars. Coupled with Adam Granduciel’s vocals, reminiscent of many a country singer, it makes for a very interesting if slightly confused album. Every songs seems different from the others, as we have pounding tracks like ‘Your Love is Calling My Name’ followed by short instrumentals that are little more than guitar and keyboards. This ambiguity can often be a recipe for disaster but on this album it all fits together very well as it travels between folk, Americana and ambient music to name but three.
As an opening track ‘Best Nights’ is a sucessful introduction to the album and to the textured guitar sound that runs throughout. It is followed by ‘Brothers’, undoubtedly one of the stand-out on show as Granduciel turns his best Dylan impression, complete with pretty echos and a mournful tone. ‘Come To The City’ is sandwiched in between two instrumental tracks as if you need time to prepare for it and then consider it after. The idea works – the track is the most rocking this album gets without feeling out of place.
The War On Drugs have acknowledged the importance of great American songwriting and songwriters but without getting lost in it and simply doing the same thing again they have added something new and in so doing have made a great, very enjoyable album. It is something a bit different from the usual and this is certainly no bad thing. It is also a bit of a grower as the different sounds can take a listen or two to get used to and really appreciate.
Words: Eala MacAlister