The War On Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues LP

(Secretly Canadian, 2008)

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β€œThe War on Drugs make excellent road-trip music. As its title implies, the Philly quintet's debut, Wagonwheel Blues, is Americana reimagined as blacktop and yellow lines, rubber tires, and overpriced gasoline. The album urges you along the interstate, but never burdens you with the stigma of roots music or reached-for authenticity. Of course, the band invokes the usual influences: Adam Granduciel sings like Bob Dylan, spewing a torrent of words in accusatory second-person ("Chasin' squirrels around your property/ Makin' sure that they know that this is your kingdom"), and the band nods to fellow Philadelphians Marah, to the Waterboys, and of course, to the Boss himself. The Felice Brothers drove the same roads on their recent self-titled album, but where those upstate New Yorkers treated their Band dynamic as a link to a past more imagined than real, the War on Drugs filter these elements through the noise of early Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth. Their songs are tangles of guitar, distorted harmonica, and droning organ, all wrapped so tightly that they become indistinguishable.” - Stephen M. Deusner for Pitchfork