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I’ve only listened to “Pain” and another one or two tracks by this band and my thoughts are similar....IMO, (and I am neither a musician nor a recording technician) the group has some real artistic prowess going that allows them to trample all over good recording conventionality to powerful expressive effect. I can’t decide-for-myself if this works in their favor every time they do it but one instance, on the aforementioned song “Pain” where a lead guitar riff probably sends the needles on somebody’s VU meters so far into the red that they’re bent at a 90 degree angle, “works” extremely well in that musical moment, IMO...
Thank you for your comments. At least I am not crazy or getting senile I agree especially about the band having "real artistic prowess" It comes down to how far can you push artistic expression without it being clear and accessible.
Modern literature took a turn similar to this during the deconstruction movement of the 1960's and 1970's Generally its theory of composition was that the writer had no responsibility to the reader to explain or traditionally represent his ideas. Generally, clarity of expression was sacrificed for context and the author's representation,not necessarily meaning. It was the reader's responsibility to navigate the context for itself. This may not be the best explanation of this genre of literature which failed as literary expression, even among its most avid committed devotees
In the case of "War on Drugs" technical sound innovations should not be the aim of the band, however way they see it. The music and the musical craftsmanship that delivers it must be present and there. Distorting or enhancing it can be useful and part of the music, but when it gets in the way of the music and the musician's performance talents, it degrades both and makes it inaccessible to the audience.
I would agree that some of the reverb and distortion can be distracting at times, especially with some of their tracks through a good majority of their albums.
Definitely not something I’d put on to test a system or late night listening. On the other hand they’re usually my go-to on a mixed CD-R when I have a long drive.
Always thought Comin’ Through was exceptional on their Future Weather album. As a whole, I preferred their most recent release, A Deeper Understanding.
I'm a big fan of War On Drugs. They're fantastic live and hail from Philly. I'd put Lost in the Dream in the top spot of WOD albums...also worth checking out Kurt Vile's (former lead guitarist) solo work. Bottle it In is a great album...check out the tracks Bbassakwards or Check Baby. The reverb is definitely part of the sound, and in my opinion translates very well in a live show.