Album Review: Future Weather – The War on Drugs

Published on The Deli Philadelphia – Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010

After listening to Future Weather, the follow-up to The War on Drugs’ breakout full length album, Wagonwheel Blues, from Indiana-based label, Secretly Canadian, it’s extremely fitting that the Philly trio – comprised of frontman Adam Granduciel, drummer Mike Zanghi and bassist Dave Hartley – released their 8-song EP on October 26. Continuing on the Americana nuances of The War on Drugs’ previous records, Future Weather takes on the rhythms of classic America and adds a jangly twist, giving off a vibe that is serene, brisk and almost chilly – the soundtrack to a lonely, rainy night in a strip mall diner. In other words: Future Weather is perfect for a late autumn love affair.
Opening with the under-a-minute buzzed out ambience of “Come to the City #14”, the nearly 30-minute EP, with Granduciel’s old-soul, far-off twangy intones in full effect, is magnificently awash with surging soundscapes and murmuring cadence from start to end. The ‘80s-influenced Americana fuzzbox of “Baby Missiles” coasts down the open highway, showcasing an energetic harmonica alongside a layered audio backdrop of spirited pulses. “Comin’ Through” and “Brothers” are both pensive and starry-eyed – two tracks that are relaxed yet lush, courting a hazy simplicity that evokes a peripatetic abandon. And Future Weather’s latest “single”, “The History of Plastic”, is a raw experimental number that spotlights a droning harmonica and burns leisurely on your fingertips, bursting into a dissonant array of sonic shakes and controlled freak outs that blanket Granduciel’s vocal slurs. And, throughout, it flows between the whirring kick-off and the abrasive zenith until it fades out to black. But it’s “A Pile of Tires” that’s the most noteworthy. Performing like it’s spinning on a dusty gramophone, the track feels forlorn. Its muted scratches hover above raspy vowels and ever-present guitar chords.
And like Wagonwheel Blues, the tracks on Future Weather are divided by three instrumentals: opener “Come to the City #14”, the corporeal seconds of “Comin’ Around”, and the dense “Missiles Reprise”, a mired psych-surf number that lasts over two minutes and features muted guitar wops and intensely austere drums. Overall, Future Weather plays out like polished tunnel busking, which isn’t to say that it’s a bad thing. Instead, it’s like music hidden underneath a street bustling with busy urbanities too oblivious to notice its beauty. – Annamarya Scaccia


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