Three weeks ago at the Bishop Allen show I picked up a vinyl copy of The War On Drugs debut LP Wagonwheel Blues. In the weeks prior to the show, the Barrel of Batteries EP had been getting quite alot of attention from my iTunes. I was psyched for Bishop Allen, but I really couldn't wait to see The War On Drugs. Unfortunately I only caught the last 3 or 4 songs, which were all good, although they seemed a bit distant and their stage presence left alot to be desired. Luckily they had their album for sale, wayyy ahead of time (and only on vinyl!).
Wagonwheel Blues, as the title suggests, is a uniquely American record. No, The War On Drugs do not sound like a Roots or Americana act, but their sound is still intrinsically American. Filtered through 40+ years of American rock and roll, Wagonwheel Blues touches on everything from the landscape poetry of Dylan and the suburban angst of Springsteen to the fuzzed out, feed back ringing distortion of Sonic Youth and the bedroom psych experiments of the E6 collective.
Wagonwheel Blues is a storyteller record linked with sludgy melodic sonic transitions that often feel like when your head gets spacey and your body loopy from smoking too much weed and not sleeping enough...or you've been drinking for 72 hours and your mind is swaying while you try to pass out and not vomit. It's enjoyable for existing in the fog between chemical euphoria and a full on sonic coma. Which is essentially what all rock and roll records are supposed to feel like, right?
The War On Drugs- Taking The Farm