Although a patchwork of moments, chosen from a number of live shows, The War on Drugs’ first live album Live Drugs (released on November 20, 2020) flows well. The songs are arranged to replicate the flow of a live set and it sure sounds like they were all from one show.
My favourite song is the twelve-minute Under the Pressure, which is a masterpiece. The song’s tension is built up from interesting instrumental melodies, fantastic riffs and singer Granduciel’s characteristic voice. You can also hear the revved-up audience’s singing bleeding into the mix.
Other highlights I’d like to mention are Buenos Aires Beach, the only song from their debut album (2008), Accidentally Like a Martyr (Warren Zevon cover) and Eyes To the Wind, which has an amazing sax solo.
The War on Drugs is a very creative and energetic band and if you are anything like me, who desperately miss going to live shows, this album function to some degree as a pacifier. It is the consolation I need in the midst of the devastating global pandemic that has caused all live concerts to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
To be honest I didn’t know much about the band The War on Drugs before I listened to this album and as I started writing this review my research pointed me towards the The Superhigh Quality Podcast, which is “an oral history of what it took for the band to put together the new album” and their life off the road in the year of 2020.
I’ve listened to the two episodes that have been released so far and I find the podcast personal, interesting and entertaining- a must for the nerdiest The War on Drugs fans.
Btw, apparently is a fifth The War on Drugs studio album well-underway and could see a release at some point next year.