The War on Drugs, O2 Academy Brixton, gig review: Sounding unstoppable

Adam Granduciel's band are reinventing a genre with raw musicianship

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The Independent Culture

For a band regularly compared to the giant likes of Dire Straits and Bruce Springsteen, The War on Drugs are riding on sky-high expectations.

But far from underwhelming, this Philadelphia sextet shows Brixton Academy how worthy latest album Lost in the Dream is of its innumerable "Best of 2014" accolades.

Frontman Adam Granduciel and drummer Charlie Hall may resemble Seventies throwbacks with their unruly hair and bandanas, but while this group's influences are resonant, they are re-inventing a genre rather than merely repeating it.

There's a universal sense of nostalgia and pain to these songs, many of which, such as "Red Eyes", are more deserving of the term 'anthem'.

The grand, melodic sound of "Under The Pressure" is a cathartic opener, "Burning" is Americana pop at its finest and "Eyes To The Wind" showcases the band's emotional ferocity.

Older tracks "Baby Missiles" and "Arms Like Boulders" are met with eagerly, before "An Ocean In Between The Waves" proves the set's storming highlight, building to a crashing guitar-driven climax that reverberates mercilessly around the hall.

The raw musicianship on stage tonight speaks volumes about the brightness of this band's future - they're sounding unstoppable.