The War on Drugs are undeniably dad-rock. If their acclaimed LP, Lost in the Dream wasn’t enough proof, Mark Kozelek can tell you in last year’s media stir-up, ‘War on Drugs: Suck My Cock’.
“The whitest band I’ve ever heard is War on Drugs”, sings Mark. Among other golden lines are, “their hair is long and greasy, hope they don’t have lice” and “all you rednecks, shut the fuck up”. Whether you take his sardonic middle-aged humor seriously or not, setting foot into one of their shows will force you to admit that there is some truth to his words.
Adam Granduciel is half Springsteen – an appeal to the hairless Guardian readers – and half Bon Iver – a trait pertinent to grounded indie, putting them fittingly in Coachella lineups. His stage presence is closer to the latter though, keeping things modest with dull comments like “This is such a beautiful room”. He innocently pronounces Southampton like Southaamptan and people smirk at his heavy Philadelphia accent.
Apart from the corny ‘woo!’ before every guitar interlude, their stadium rock aesthetics sound expansive and otherworldly in their latest single, ‘Under the Pressure’. The buoyant ‘Red Eyes’ keep the parents dancing while the contemplative and existential ‘Brothers’ leave the room in tranquility.
They dip into their extensive back catalogue with classics ‘Arms Like Boulders’ as faultless as Kurt Vile left it, and slip in a George Harrison cover that blends in so smoothly it could easily be placed into any of their albums.
If this is the direction ‘beer commercial rock’ is heading, it is more than promising.