War on Drugs
Wagonwheel Blues
(Secretly Canadian)


On its debut album, Philadelphia band War on Drugs wears its influences on its sleeve, said Dan DeLuca in The Philadelphia Inquirer. In his plainspoken voice, singer/guitarist Adam Granduciel sings like Bob Dylan, spouting off line after line of wordy, abstruse folk-rock. The rest of the band, meanwhile, echoes Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen with its rough-and-tumble tangles of guitars, warped organ, and distorted harmonica. But alongside these traces of Americana there’s also the “gauzy head rush” of noise-rock bands like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. This combination makes the album sound “modern, outsize, and urban” said Stephen Deusner in Pitchforkmedia.com. War on Drugs is bold enough to treat “revered sources” as if they “needed to be roughed up a bit to sound new.” “Taking the Farm” starts off as rollicking road-trip music until it “implodes in an ominous guitar finale.” “Arms Like Boulders” is folk rock cloaked in lush atmospherics. Wagonwheel Blues is an “ unexpected delight,” said Ned Raggett in All Music Guide. It’s “at once an album of its time” and one that transcends any particular musical moment.