Lost in the Dream contains everything we have come to expect and also crave from the War on Drugs: loose, languid melodies that bend and stretch, Adam Granduciel’s hazy poetry and layer upon layer of instrumentation. But, this time around, Granduciel has minimized the fruitless filler instrumental tracks that litter past releases. His guns are now pointed skyward.

The War on Drugs has always functioned as the quintessential act for those growing up a post-Y2K world — there are times throughout the grandiose near-nine minute opener, “Under the Pressure,” when Granduciel paints a landscape so vast and limitless with possibility, as if every moment on record is one of infinite opportunity. And of course, there is tension — the song fades out in a fuzzy haze, never again climaxing but again instilling a sense of fear as to what may happen next. That dichotomy is present, too, on “Burning,” a cinematic grower. It’s romantic as all hell, but Granduciel manages to sustain the build for just long enough that we worry, at any moment it could combust horrifically. Thankfully, it rarely does.

By Joshua Kloke

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