Album Review: Slave Ambient - The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs' Slave Ambient comes on like a golden sun-drenched California-born-and-raised country album, the jaunty melodies kicking off with 'Best Night', swimming in shimmering guitar work and a humming percussion backing. 'Brothers' retains the feeling but adds a bit of psychedelia, sounding like The Byrds on one of the Beatles' acid trips.

But throughout Slave Ambient each song from The War On Drugs feels like it adds a different element. 'I Was There' is sloppily gambolling around like one of the Verve's more experimental tracks which, if you put your ego aside, is still a good thing. Things really move with 'Your Love Is Calling My Name' though - the melodies and rhythms becoming more intensely mechanical and singer Adam Granduciel's vocals becoming entwined with the instruments so they feel like part of the music as much as the instruments.

It feels like a jumping off point and from here on out the ground is no longer beneath our feet. There are short slices of ambient and distorted circular instrumental and a glorious moment on 'Baby Missiles' that is a good barometer for The War On Drugs: we are basically listening to Bruce Springsteen backed by Neu!

The anthemic 'Come To The City' and its post-rock reprise encapsulate this album best though. It's a dazzling and bewildering fist-in-the-air shout of triumphant determination wrapped up in a home-coming that hits you with a bloody smile and a punch to the gut all at once. If U2 early U2 had transformed into something amazing instead of shit they might be something like this.

BP x

Slave Ambient is out now, available from on CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links].