Lost in the Dream is the third studio album by American indie rock band The War on Drugs, released on March 18, 2014 through Secretly Canadian. The recording session, which took place over a two-year period, was characterized by numerous rewrites. The album's lyrical themes were influenced by the loneliness and depression Granduciel faced after he finished touring.
Work on follow-up third album Lost in the Dream began while the band was on tour in 2012, with the full process of writing, demoing, and recording stretching out over a 15-month period and employing five different studios in as many states. Instead of resulting in a piecemeal pastiche of discordant ideas, Lost in the Dream actually represents the most fully realized statement from the group thus far, with all ten songs gelling together with a sense of purpose and understated brilliance the band came close to before, but delivers in full here
The War on Drugs’ 2011 album Slave Ambient saw perpetual unease as a Zen state: bandleader Adam Granduciel’s ruminations on restlessness read like a veritable prescription for Xanax, but the psychedelia-smeared country-rock enveloping his words was all, like, No worries, dude. The War on Drugs’ third album, however, presents no easy remedy for his inner turmoil. If the mesmerizing motorik hum of Slave Ambient gave Granduciel an outlet to escape his problems, Lost in the Dream is where he pulls a U to survey the emotional wreckage. As detailed in a recent Grantland feature, Lost In the Dream was the product of a grueling, year-long recording process. Though Granduciel involved his touring band more so than any previous War on Drugs record, his perfectionist tendencies still held sway, resulting in endless cycles of recording, revising, and scrapping.
Lost in the Dream is a sad record, but it’s also a hopeful one, enriched by the journey of its own heartbreak and the possibilities that remain. Previous album 'Slave Ambient' seemed to push The War on Drugs on to a new level: 'Lost In A Dream' takes them even higher. From the misty cover to the dreamy rhythms and hazy melodies, it’s an album that lives up to its title.
The War on Drugs make archetypal road-trip music: shimmering, steady, gritty as pavement and open as the sky. Longer on instrumental texture than songwriting, their third album recasts the blue-collar fantasias of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen as earthy ambient music, better to soak in than to scrutinize.
But its real power comes from being a bruised, state-of-the-heart record, one that more than lived up to the promise of 2011’s well received but commercially static Slave Ambient. Within the gauzy textures of Lost in the Dream, some detected the ghost of Dire Straits, or the grizzled night moves of Bob Seger. Turns out that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Opening track Under the Pressure may be built around a strident piano figure and single-minded, I-drove-all-night drums but it eventually surrenders almost half its running time to phasing atmospherics. These longueurs, sunk like depth charges throughout the album, are important.
Drugs album’s gonna sound like? That was quickly followed by another who nearly laughed remarking, What won’t it sound like. that with each song [and Lost In The Dream was recorded using. Lost In The Dream has also been released as a double record gatefold on brilliant translucent purple vinyl, spinning a 45 rpm's.