After allowing their sound to grow into what many critics considered the best rock album of 2014 with Lost In The Dream, Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs continues to be a magnificent example of the band’s evolution. In preparation for their latest record titled A Deeper Understanding, they have released the third single and accompanying video for “Strangest Thing.” Upon listening to it and seeing where they have gone during these anxiety-ridden three years, it seems that we will indeed have a deeper understanding of who they are as musicians. The track is undoubtedly the largest sound that I have ever heard The War on Drugs seek, and they do not only tackle it but smash its face into the ground and completely conquer it. “Strangest Thing” keeps much of what makes them such a great band, however to listen to their debut Wagonwheel Blues it would strike you that this was a completely different group. That is the true mark of a musician and thankfully these guys have continued to be true to their craft. This evolution could be a result that frontman Adam Granduciel is no longer as solitary as he was on the early releases, allowing for more of a collective effort to come through while still maintaining the signature of his dangerous mind.
As stated previously, this track is absolutely enormous. It ranges from blissfully simple with the light drumming and chords played over an atmospheric synth backing, keeping this pattern through nearly the first half of the 7-minute song. This quickly changes when an overlay of electronic strings are introduced and the guitar molds into a cosmic force that builds with fuzzy distortion that almost screeches. The way in which “Strangest Thing” is structured is similar to a post-rock song, taking light steps along the clifftop before stepping off the edge and instead of falling just taking to the skies and reaching. Everything about this track is beautiful, from the melodies to Granduciel’s classic vocals, and this is proving to be the hardest thing I’ve ever written. If you’re not moved close to tears while listening to this, then you must be made of stone.
A Deeper Understanding is due out on 08/25 from Atlantic Records and is available for pre-order here.