I thought whilst the country was having an on-again, off-again love affair with winter and that albino bastard known as snow, we could all do with a little more summer in our lives, so this week I reviewed an album that can hopefully help you forget all that drudgery, if only for a few minutes.
The album opens with Under the Pressure, a song that captures the romance of running away to find somewhere better, only to find that we can’t live up to the weight of our own expectations and dreams and that sometimes we have to live with the reality that those dreams are too big, unwieldy and abstract for us to possibly achieve.
Red Eyes elicits a feeling of motion, not surprising seeing as “red eye” is American slang for a late night flight that arrives early the next morning. The song’s soaring guitar chords produces a feeling of being divorced from the earth and surrounded by darkness - as if the very nature of flight itself evokes in ourselves a feeling of intangibility and transience when all we long for is to return to the ground and make the world solid again. The War on Drugs has managed to capture summer in an album reminiscent of the best of Don Henley’s music. The whole album is drenched in a nostalgia for lost summers, and the rose-tinted tragicomedy that is our past.
The Wars on Drugs stand in good company with The Smiths and Stereophonics (1st album only) in managing to successfully disguise sad songs as pop songs and for them to succeed as both. This album left me feeling by turns, wistful, nostalgic, happy and just made me want to travel and leave everything and everyone behind like Enid at the end of Ghost World, just hitching a bus to somewhere else, some place better, some place where there’s always a sun.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.