(Photo Credit - Matthias Heschl)
Advance Review - The War on Drugs: LIVE DRUGS (November 20, 2020)
The War on Drugs are back with their first release since 2017's A Deeper Understanding. The band's new release LIVE DRUGS represents the bands first foray into the live album game. Adam Granduciel and company have turned in a ten track live album, that feels cohesive in it's flow. This is awesome to hear given the record was pieced together from 40 hard drives of live music from the band at various points in their career between 2014 and 2019. The goal of LIVE DRUGS is to show the Philadelphia-based band's evolution as a live act.
What's abundantly clear from LIVE DRUGS is that The War on Drugs must be considered among the best live bands in the alt rock genre. Granduciel's signature vocals that sometimes evoke Bryan Adams and sometimes tinges of Bob Dylan are crisp as ever on this record. Musically, The War on Drugs bring an immense presence to their live sets throughout LIVE DRUGS. There are times, where the music feels very grand and larger than life, such as the ripping guitar solos of "Strangest Thing" or the wailing of the harmonica and saxophone in "Eyes to the Wind".
All things considered, after taking in LIVE DRUGS, it's been made evident to me that The War on Drugs need to be on my concert bucket list, or I just won't feel right. The band is able to combine aspects of alt-rock with Americana to make something wholly different. If you're new to the band, LIVE DRUGS isn't a bad place to start and it gives you a flavor of their live show. What I've decided is that this is the best live album I've heard in a while.
Rating - 5/5