The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Released August 25th 2017
I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while, but I’ve been a lazy piece of shit recently. Aren’t we all sometimes? Anyway, I was listening to a record the other day and I decided to count my vinyl collection. I finally have one year’s worth of “vinyl of the week” and no longer any excuse for not posting about them.
There’s something special about owning an album you like on vinyl. Besides the obvious things like getting more cash to your favorite artists and flexing on your friends, to be able to hold something and read about the music and lyrics while you listen adds a lot to the overall experience. Additionally if the package is put together properly, owning a vinyl can make you feel as if you are a member of special club. The only people on earth with the same information as you must also be owners of the vinyl (or at least have done their research). It should make you feel like if you don’t buy the bands next album on vinyl, you will be missing part of the story. That you will be missing a chance to connect with an artist you want to know more about. There are of course disappointments; a vinyl that has no extras. But I always argue that actively listening and having to pay enough attention to get up and flip the damn thing halfway through...I don’t know, there’s something about it. Maybe I’m just pretentious.
As any true Midwesterner knows the weather here tends to be sporadic - ESPECIALLY in Ohio. One day you’re chilling at the beach drinking some white claws with the boys and the next day you’re brushing snow off your car wondering why you live here. It’s a rough life we Midwesterners live, but sometimes the lack of atmospheric consistency can be refreshing. Recently around the Cleveland area we have been seeing peeks of fall, with the leaves just starting to change and the air becoming crisp. Something in the air is really bringing me back to the end of August 2017.
The fall of 2017 was ushered in by The War on Drug’s 4th studio LP, “A Deeper Understanding.” (Most of the vinyl I’ll be talking about in these essays came out years ago, but if feels good to let the feelings from the music resurface). When my Dad gave me this album on vinyl I had heard of TWOD but never really invested much time in listening. Let me tell you, the Philly based rock band put out a gem of a record. So much of a gem that it went on to win the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, a well-deserved accolade that has left fans new and old eager to hear new music. An instant classic, I was hooked. I remember being drawn to the ambient ‘western’ side of indie rock that TWOD introduced me to that fall. “A Deeper Understanding” has a sort of mysticism to it. Throughout the album powerful guitar melodies and the grisly, breathy, vocals of Adam Granduciel paint a picture of driving off into the night with the windows down and too much on your mind to think of anything in particular. “A Deeper Understanding” is a mood.
Although this album is pretty strong as a whole, the only song that really stood out to me was the single “Pain.” Maybe you can include “”Holding On” to that list, but the rest of the LP kind of blends together. That being said, if you have never heard this album and need some good music to throw on in the background during chores or a long car drive definitely listen to “A Deeper Understanding.” As far as the actual vinyl goes, the packaging and presentation are cool, but nothing that stands out. It is a double LP on black vinyl that comes with a one-side-poster-one-side-lyric sheet booklet. It sounds great and the records themselves feel sturdy. The whole package seems like something from the 1970’s, but I wasn’t alive then so what do I know?
Stay tuned for next weeks vinyl, these essays are only bound to get better over time.