The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient

Album cover
Folk, Indie Rock
Secretly Canadian
The War On Drugs
Slave Ambient
The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient Review rating:
4.5
User rating:
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Some records teem with certain aspirations, perhaps because they can’t deny what they naturally cling toward. Slave Ambient, for better then worse, evolves from a traditionalist Americana record to a complex sound ingrained with mature lyrical themes that jumps away from a stereotypical image. In fact, it sounds nothing quite generic, rather the Americana elements sprout out logically without much fuss, but a surprising addition in their sound allows the group to sound entirely refreshing.

War On Drugs are deceptively strong on Slave Ambient and considering this is the band’s sophomore album, it comes off with unadulterated confidence. It’s an easily digestible album because it is true at its core. At its heart, Slave Ambient is an album that carries its influences on its sleeve. The true Americana presence is what boils to the top when all is said and done. The tone is exemplified throughout the process and it never comes with force. The certain delectable simplicity of the songs, despite each track seemingly clouded; they still evoke some simple forms of mind. This is conceivably directly from Adam Granduciel, who masterfully intertwines his songs of sadness with all kinds of manipulations of the group’s sound. “Come To The City,” is wrought with shoegaze elements, and even if Slave Ambient is truly an Americana album, the lending and integration of both genres brings about quaint, charming and an original sound. If this is any indicator of The War On Drugs' future, they're ahead of the curve and are at the forefront of the genre in many aspects - creativity, maturity, and ingenuity.

It is a bit ironic that such genres that usually discuss gloomy subjects of life are entirely changed by the atmosphere of the album. Slave Ambient is just that – a mysterious album brought through the trials of infused shoegaze and Americana. What you eventually get is a less prevalent influence from their key contributors and more daydreaming thanks to the atmosphere and shiny new coat of the album from the outset. While Slave Ambient moves far more quickly than the conventional shoegaze 90’s group, it still earns the same feeling of euphoria. What is telling is the fact that none of these songs ever carry the burden of sounding entirely inorganic with these elements together. They sound as if they’ve been meant for each other from the beginning. It’s in that moment that you’ll realize how truly brilliant it all is - how exceptionally basic and obvious the whole process should have been to you, you’ve just been too stupid to see it until now.

The attachment that the Philadelphia band has garnered with their latest is something far simpler than expected, but it doesn’t deter from the importance this album will have this year. When stripped of its distortion sounds and layers, the inside of the album truly moves with its blues and folk pulse, but the added dimension of 90’s elements are what separate it from traditionalist influenced Americana bands. Listen closely – you’ll hear the harmonica and acoustics in the background withering away from the evolution each track takes. War On Drugs meld what all My Bloody Valentine fans would adore, but with heaps of Dylan influence. There is an outright dream-like jubilation that you will eventually succumb to, don’t fight it because it’s not worth it.

1. Best Night
2. Brothers
3. I Was There
4. Your Love Is Calling My Name
5. The Animator
6. Come to the City
7. Come For It
8. It's Your Destiny
9. City Reprise #12
10. Baby Missiles
11. Original Slave
12. Black Water Falls

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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