The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

While TWOD and Kurt Vile have gone their separate ways, they seem to be sharing an almost identical sonic trajectory – the latest offerings from both somehow still feeling remarkably attached,

almost indistinguishable in parts. An idiosyncratic and engulfing use of melody plays throughout ‘Slave Ambient’ with glorious gusto.

The production is meticulous yet refrained and everything here exhales a glorious concoction of swirling guitars, warbled vocals and eerie atmospheres.

Comparisons to The Verve are almost inescapable, and while that may sound crap,

it translates unusually well because the album succeeds frequently in tying everything together sonically.

Everything has its place and is a constant means of reinforcement. Combined,

it’s a lush and complex piece of work that operates as an exploration in texture as much as it is a series of songs.

It turns out that the band – while no collection of virtuosos – can really play too,

which isn’t the kind of thing you find yourself thinking after you’ve seen them hammer out a live show in kettle-boiling time.

Then, velocity precedes even the simple technicality of ‘Puke Song’’s one-string guitar solo (solos of any sort notably being extremely un-hardcore).

It has to be this that has allowed Cerebral Ballzy to cross over to the mainstream enough to have been booked to play this year’s

Latitude Festival – an idyllic weekend of boxed wine and sandwiches made

‘edgy’ last year by a recently polished Horrors. The War on Drugs

When the band are retching over the organic hog roast and screaming

‘Don’t Look My Way’ at all the disapproving faces,

though, it’ll serve as a reminder that while Cerebral Ballzy aren’t quite as stupid as they look, The War on Drugs they remain as punk as they sound.

Honed and more coherent, for the better.

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