Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

CD REVIEW: The War On Drugs' Slave Ambient 

Secretly Canadian; Release date: Aug. 16, 2011

THE DEAL: Hyped Philly act draws comparisons it hasn't earned.

THE GOOD: Ever since their intriguing debut full-length, Wagonwheel Blues, there's been a movement to anoint this Philly band and its songwriter Adam Granduciel the Next Great American Artiste. Within the WoD cult, a trio of legends appear as touchstones with disconcerting frequency. Granduciel's pinched vocals may suggest Tom Petty, but he lacks Petty's ease with a hook; WoD songs are all texture and pulse. The Bob Dylan links stem from Granduciel's word-torrents, but it's hard imagining Dylan penning anything as self-absorbed and pedestrian as "wondering where my friends are going / and wondering why they didn't take me." As for the third legend, WoD narratives may be road-friendly, but they lack the dramatic flair of Bruce Springsteen's seminal-era songwriting; if The Boss was trapped but hell-bent on getting out of town, Granduciel's just tooling around aimlessly ... kinda like his songs. What WoD do have going for them is that they sound great texturally. But a formula quickly emerges: apply loads of shoegaze flange to shuffling Americana, goose the tempo now and then via those metronomic wet-snares (conjuring '80s one-note act Big Country), coat everything in keys and synths, let Granduciel whinge semi-cryptically, fade one track into the next, rinse and repeat. It's not horrible, just blatantly one-dimensional. All this WoD adulation is just wishful thinking; in an increasingly net-splintered and derivative post-this and neo-that music landscape, rock fans crave an artist who has something to say and says it well. Neither really applies here.

THE BAD: See above.

THE VERDICT: Meh.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

Photo Galleries

  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
» more slideshows
www.flickr.com
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation