The War On Drugs, Koko, gig review


A number called 'Suffering' could well be the least enticing of a set, yet it is testament to Adam Granduciel's newly acquired focus that tonight's most minimal moment in a two-hour set feels as engaging as the expansive guitar rock for which he is becoming widely known.

As The War On Drugs, the Philadelphia-based artist gained critical acclaim for feeding easy-going drivetime classicism through a krautrock mincer on 2011's Slave Ambient.

It is March's Lost In The Dream, though, that broke the Top 20 with its combination of glossy eighties-style production and aching lyrics born of post-tour come-down and break-up.

Granduciel brings a five-piece group to bring to life his mesmerising flow (the epic Under The Pressure hits eight, well-spent minutes).

Songs morph from blissed-out guitar hazes, through stern krautrock to the the central figure's shimmering solos.

All the while, you find yourself wondering who the otherwise undemonstrative figure sounds like, somewhere between Don Henley and Bruce Hornsby.

This may be no accident, as Granduciel clings to escapist fantasies and nostalgic reveries, even if newer material packs more punch as his loss feels palpably closer, notably on an 'Eyes To The Wind', where rolling piano riffs amplify the singer's yearning.