The third studio album by the War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream, begins with the sound of a skipping compact disc. As “Under the Pressure” fades in, the clicks give way to a similarly timed beat. It’s a tacit throwback—ah, yes, CDs were “a thing”—and an appropriate kickoff to a record that invokes the best of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
Lost in the Dream is its own beast, though; WoD frontman Adam Granduciel recorded it over the course of two years across the Eastern Seaboard, and he eschews some of the stoned-out, ruminative haze that dominated 2011’s Slave Ambient. If Nancy Reagan couldn’t forgive the band’s moniker, perhaps she could dig new road-trip-ready rock & roll epics like “Red Eyes” or “An Ocean in Between the Waves.”
It’s hard not to hear a nod to Dylan’s breathiness on “Eyes to the Wind,” which anchors the second half of Dream. It feels like something that could pop up on a radio dial in Kansas. It’s classic already; the whole album is.—Colin St. John
Follow Colin St. John on Twitter: @weneedthedude