- 29 Oct 21
Philadelphia band embrace the ‘80s on fifth LP
It’s no easy feat – plotting your return after winning a Grammy for your universally acclaimed previous album. But for a band famed for their meticulous approach to their music, The War On Drugs don’t appear too strained about the challenge, following 2017’s A Deeper Understanding. In fact, I Don’t Live Here Anymore is the most uninhibited they’ve sounded in years, as they embrace the joy of spontaneity on an album deeply rooted in ‘80s influences.
Frontman Adam Granduciel has always worn his penchant for heartland rock on his sleeve – going so far as to name his son Bruce. On the new album, he’s channeling the spirit of Springsteen, as well as the likes of Don Henley, with more unapologetic fervour than ever.
The band’s unique ability to blur the boundaries between underground indie gems and arena-filling anthems is on defiant display too – charting new territories with the unexpectedly stripped-back opening track, ‘Living Proof’. Almost in answer to the soft sadness of the track, the album soon shoots off in a direction that feels suited to wide, open roads, and that distinctly American, ambiguous definition of freedom.
Even when the throwback sounds feel almost too familiar, there’s a charisma and a power at the heart of the approach that’s difficult to resist. Just like Granduciel’s ‘80s icons – who were capable of pulling something oddly triumphant out of the surrounding despair – I Don’t Live Here Anymore finds The War On Drugs expertly straddling the line between joyful release and bittersweet nostalgia.