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CD of The Week

Week of 11/01/21

    The War on Drugs - I Don't Live Here Anymore (Atlantic)

    Could something as simple as a double-tom hit announce the next phase of an already huge band into the next stratosphere? I don't know if there is a good answer for that question, but it sure feels like it when you listen to the title track to the new War on Drugs LP I Don't Live Here Anymore. Our beloved rock warriors from Fishtown are back with an album of indie-pop magic. How do you top a Grammy-winning album like 2017's A Deeper Understanding? Throw in more hooks! Recruit the songbirds from Lucius to sing harmonies! Take all the rust from your best belt buckle and turn its experiences into American rock-n-roll music that will stand the test of time. No easy feat, but Adam Grandeciel and co. somehow make it seem easy.

    The album kicks off with the slow burner of the collection, “Living Proof.” From a host of interviews, the band has spoken of this album as being about growing up and moving on through acceptance of change. This song may harken a vision of Grandeciel walking around Frankford & Girard and being taken aback by the development while still feeling a sense of home. The lesson to learn is that home is always there, it just changes clothes from time to time. “Harmonia's Dream” sounds like 80's radio brilliance with a heartland twist. “Change” starts off poppy AF and fades brilliantly into a piano coda that could lead to you missing your exit on I-95. “I Don't Wanna Wait” owes as much to Phil Collins-era Genesis as it does as the ripping guitars that hide right until the spotlight of the last 90 seconds of the track hits with one last singing of the chorus in tow. “Victim” … my lord, just listen to it.

    “Old Skin” follows the title track and starts a four-song swath that shows off the band's travels down E Street in the best possible way. Before you know it, the album ends with “Occasional Rain,” in which Granduciel encourages us all to "keep on moving at your pace." The pace of this band from Johnny Brenda's faves to Madison Square Garden headliners (don't forget two shows at The Met in January!) is all their own... we're just lucky to be along for the ride.
    Review by Jersey Dan

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