There is nothing pristine about the new (12″ vinyl or digital download only) War On Drugs EP, Future Weather (Secretly Canadian). No one will be winning awards for audio recording. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess. But it’s one of those messes that manages to perfectly reflect the times that produced it.
Even calling it an EP is not quite correct. Yes, there are just eight songs, and the whole thing clocks in at less than 30 minutes, but there is a cohesiveness at work here that is not usually found on EPs. The Dylan comparisons are both valid, and too easy. If War On Drugs sounds like Dylan, it’s Dylan funneled through some sort of narcotic haze.
“Come To the City #14” opens the album with the sound of a tape machine being turned on in the middle of a song, and serves as an overture for the album. Things really get started with the raucous “Baby Missiles,” which is driven hard by an insistent organ riff that’s like something out of a bizarro world Dire Straits song. The album’s best song is “Comin’ Thru,” which seems to chronicle the dissolution of an important relationship. In fact, it’s themes of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal that bind these songs together. As songwriter Adam Granduciel sings on “Brothers”:
Wondering where my friends are
Wondering why they didn’t take me
Looking out the window of my room
Looking out where something once ran wild
War On Drugs was formed by Granduciel and Kurt Vile in Philadelphia five years ago. Future Weather is the band’s third EP. Their one full length album, Wagonwheel Blues, was released in 2008. They are headed in some interesting and dare I say new directions. I’ll be curious to see hear what they come up with next.
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