The War on Drugs is definitely a musical force to be reckoned with. Formed in 2005 by two singer-song writers, Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile, the group emits a masterfully crafted sound that critics have compared to artists like My Bloody Valentine, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.
After compiling various demos onto their first, self-released EP, Charlie Hall (drummer/organist), Kyle Lloyd (drummer), and Dave Hartley (bass/guitar) were recruited to join the group with intentions to tour. They eventually signed with the label Secretly Canadian to release their Barrel of Batteries EP, in 2007. Oddly enough, just before gaining notoriety, the group underwent several changes, including the departures of Hall and Lloyd, as well as one of it’s founding members, Vile, who decided to pursue ongoing solo projects, although continuing studio work on the band’s future albums. Granduciel recovered the live shows by adding Mike Zanghi (drums, percussion, sampler), to construct the current, 3-member lineup.
“Arms Like Boulders,” the first single off Barrel of Batteries, garnered initial buzz within the underground music culture, which gradually increased once their first full-length album, Wagonwheel Blues, was released in 2008. This album contained songs such as “Taking the Farm” and “Needle in Your Eye” that showcased the huge sound they were capable of creating. With Vile still working with them in the studio, the group completed their 2010 EP entitled Future Weather, including the single “Baby Missiles” which launched them into the stratosphere. The use of huge organs and psychedelic, swirling guitar sounds, that were apparent in previous works, were amplified on this album and further exposed the true crux of their music. Their most recent album, Slave Ambient, released in mid-August of this year, features a couple reprisals of songs off their Future Weather EP, including “Brothers” and “Baby Missiles.”
My overall impression is that within the next year or so, this band will be competing with the likes of Arcade Fire and Deerhunter and will be listed within the top section of even the most eclectic album collections.
Check out The War On Drugs single and music video “Baby Missiles” here: