The War On Drugs – ‘I Don’t Live Here Anymore’ Album Review by EJ Scanlan
Another Grammy-winning album could be on the cards for the six-piece American country-rockers.
The War On Drugs. A Grammy-winning rock band from Philadelphia who has continuously wowed critics and audiences alike with their vast discography, sophisticated tracks and live performances. Now on album five, the then six-man band are ready to show us what more they’ve got in the form of “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, their first record after four years away.
The ten-track LP begins with “Living Proof”, which begins beautifully from its gorgeous piano chords to the gradual introduction from the rest of the collective. Vocalist Adam Grandiciel is a gorgeous storyteller who expertly shows off the beautiful poetic lyrics in a gorgeous way. This is followed up by the rockier “Harmonia’s Dream”, the longest track on the record clocking in at 6 minutes 26 seconds, where once again Grandiciel delivers poetry in beautiful vocals, and along with the band’s textbook instrumentation, this creates a wonderful and innovative country-rock track.
“Change”’s beautiful guitar chords dominate the song, denoting that the band’s chemistry and instrumentation are some of the best out there, with the band’s knowledge and expertise in music, sound and genre being outstanding all the way through. “I Don’t Wanna Wait” follows up this point beautifully with gorgeous soundscapes and remarkable vocals and lyrics. The track is perfect if you need to relax after a stressful day (trust me on that one…) and also the perfect song for a drugs trip (the best thing to say for a review of a band called The War On Drugs), it really takes you on a journey which is full of highs all the way through (pun not intended).
Following up with “Victim”, the track’s nostalgic Americana feel is the real standout here, as well as its production, however, the song doesn’t stand out as well as the first four, though that’s not to say it’s bad, it’s on the contrary, it’s fantastic and produced masterfully, just the others left a bigger impact on me. As we approach the halfway mark, we get given the title track of the record, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, we get a very similar sound to all of the previous tracks, so it makes the song hard to stand out unfortunately, but like “Victim”, it’s a great song, just the similarity between their other songs is its biggest downfall. It’s a shame as I was expecting to hear something a little more out there from the album’s title track.
“Old Skin” begins with a beautiful atmospheric piano score, reminiscent of a Brian Cox space documentary or a short film that you’d hear in a planetarium. Its incredibly simple instrumentation is very effective. Unfortunately, the song is tarnished through Adam Grandiciel’s vocals, which don’t seem to work on this track on the first half. The second half is a different story however, as he works very well, as well as the rest of the band, but I wish we had more of the beautiful soundscape of the first part of the song, only instrumental. It is a fantastic song regardless though. “Old Skin” then perfectly transitions into “Wasted”, which carries on the beautiful instrumentation the album does expertly, which has the most satisfying finale on the album so far, but the ending of the autotuned “um, let’s do that again” ruins the entire song for me.
“Rings Around My Father’s Eyes”, as the title might connote, is a gorgeously written track that Grandiciel expertly captures the emotion towards the poetry, accompanied by the band, it makes a beautiful song all the way through. Moving onto the final track from the record, “Occasional Rain” makes a perfect closer, showcasing the best of what the band can produce, with the final two minutes being the strongest of the entire album. Its perfect instrumentation is something a lot of people should hear.
Overall, The War On Drugs could have another Grammy to their name with their fifth studio album, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”. It’s poetic, expertly put together and the band’s instrumentation is the highlight. If you’re a fan of American country-rock with indie influences, this album is for you, however, the album does suffer from a similar sound through which can grow tiresome as the tracks go on. It’s a great effort by the band and I look forward to seeing its success.
“I Don’t Wanna Wait”
“I Don’t Live Here Anymore”
Monday 11th April 2022 – Birmingham – O2 Academy
Tuesday 12th April 2022 – London – O2 Arena
Thursday 14th April 2022 – Dublin – 3 Arena
Saturday 16th April 2022 – Leeds – First Direct Arena
Monday 18th April 2022 – Edinburgh – Corn Exchange