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The War on Drugs

Future Weather EP

[Secretly Canadian; 2010]

By ; November 19, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The quick low-down on The War On Drugs is they are a collection of folk rockers who have gradually been rising out of the Philly scene over the past five years. They made some traction a couple years back when Secretly Canadian picked them up and released the bands debut LP. Shortly there after official member Kurt Vile grew into a popular stalwart of the indie music scene with his solo work. Vile’s success has no doubt helped the band gain some attention and Vile is said to be a crucial catalyst to the bands chemistry; however, on this EP it’s a wonder if he even showed up to the sessions at all. The spotlight on this record is definitely shining on front man Adam Granduciel who is said to have wrote and recorded much of the work. Granduciel distinguishes himself with the creative wit of a modern day poet and is the most prominent force shaping the bands sound.

The Future Weather EP is really just five songs with three noisily droned instrumental intermissions. Of those five songs, three are exceptionally moving to say the least and hands down some of the best music the band has shown to date. The sound of the record is hardly groundbreaking for the genre and closely mimicks some of its pioneer predecessors but affectionate and stimulating none the less. Some songs feel so authentically throwback ‘Americana’ (“Brothers” and “A Pile Of Trees”) while some seem to have a more vintage take on a futuristic and experimental direction(“Baby Missiles” and “Coming Through”) creating a sort of blended awe about the collection. This carefully balanced execution is what makes the songs stirring and idiosyncratic and not just lackluster Dylan rips. Depressing, ‘opportunity lost’ lyrics are hidden under nostalgic, relaxing folk guitars, drowned in warm and ambient textures. The songs channel a list of celebrated artists; Dylan (Brothers) and Springsteen (Baby Missiles) topping the list. After a dizzying intro to set the mood, “Baby Missiles” kicks in with the feel and beat reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s “Keep The Car Running.” This up-beat jangle quickly runs along blending killer harmonica and guitar solos. The standout track “Comin Through” is the most distant from its influence and has so many distinct sounds intertwined for an aural jam vibe that really sets the signature free-flow tone for the record. “Brothers” opens up with a three chord strum that runs on over five minutes of beautiful reverb and noodling while Granduciel articulates a forelorn story that will inspire your next mellow drive.

It’s rumored the EP’s songs were scrapped for use on a new LP; if that is so and these are really scraps, it makes you really excited for what’s next from this band. Hopefully this EP is a hype medley for something really special to come. Maybe we will see more of Kurt Vile’s touch in the future and come to better understand his role in this band. Overall it’s a eminent sound and it falls into the collection as a nice companion to Domino Records band Chief’s debut Modern Rituals that came out earlier this year. Same breadth of genre but much different sound; both projects are equally worthwhile. Im hoping they make a garden state sequel and throw both these bands on the soundtrack.


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