Albums to watch

A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs

A Deeper Understanding

Forth studio album of psychedelic indie rock from the Philadelphia band fronted by Adam Granduciel

ADM rating[?]

7.6

Label
Atlantic
UK Release date
25/08/2017
US Release date
25/08/2017
  1. 9.5 |   The Music

    Give it the time it deserves because this is their best and most complete album to date
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  2. 9.1 |   A.V. Club

    If The War On Drugs were to, somehow, aim even higher from here, A Deeper Understanding affirms it’s the kind of band that could actually pull it off
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  3. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    The best indie rock record of the year and in many ways, the best record in general. It is comforting and compelling in its confidence
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  4. 9.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    Easily one of the most satisfying guitar albums in recent memory, maintaining the feeling of being an original and important continuation of the American legacy of rock & roll
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  5. 9.0 |   The 405

    Their richest, plushest and most indulgent yet
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  6. 8.7 |   Pitchfork

    The obsessive studio work of Adam Granduciel creates a hermetic experience like no other. A Deeper Understanding is his most layered and meticulous album, a twilight world in which to lose yourself
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  7. 8.5 |   Prefix

    The band's best album yet, is an epic, panoramic record, but its effect is an intimate, personal one
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  8. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    The importance has always lied in the journey, and this powerful record proves that the band has no signs of stopping along the way
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  9. 8.4 |   Gig Soup

    The War On Drugs further cement their place as one of today's best bands with their most cohesive work yet
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  10. 8.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    When the songs are this satisfying, when each guitar solo tears through cynicism like a wet paper bag, sometimes good old fashioned honesty is more than fine. It’s downright beautiful
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  11. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    A master class in widening scope, the record finds the band unafraid to push their sound in a way that feels bigger than what any of their contemporaries are doing
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  12. 8.0 |   Q

    It keeps the solid black tarmac-strip of radio-friendly rock under its wheels. Print edition only

  13. 8.0 |   music OMH

    Not as immediate an album as Lost In The Dream, and a couple of quality control lapses prevent it from being a truly great record. Yet it’s still a dauntingly accomplished behemoth from a group who grow in stature with every release they put out
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  14. 8.0 |   Under The Radar

    It's not as new anymore, but it sure sounds great
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  15. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    Represents another step forward for the War on Drugs, and is among their most ambitious, consistent, and emotionally searing works yet
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  16. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    A record that banishes any listener cynicism on first contact; a wide-eyed look into the wild blue yonder
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  17. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    An abstract-expressionist mural of synth-pop and heartland rock colored by bruised optimism
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  18. 8.0 |   The Observer

    Adam Granduciel emerges from crippling introspection and perfectionism to serve up a set of ‘shimmering chrome dreams’ on his band’s fourth album
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  19. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    The strangeness is still there, and that’s a good thing
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  20. 8.0 |   All Music

    Though there's nothing here to grab headlines, A Deeper Understanding reclaims and explores the distinctive soundscapes, vastness, and haunted psyche of Lost in the Dream, and that in itself is significant
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  21. 8.0 |   NME

    These songs revel in their spaciousness, like three- minute drivetime anthems from 1986 set free from their radio edits to muck around with 2017’s oddest noises for seven minutes at a time
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  22. 8.0 |   Uncut

    Some of the richest, most compelling and least lonely-sounding music of Granduciel’s career
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  23. 7.6 |   AU Review

    Boasts solid arrangements and production, but is lacking passion and emotion in Granduciel’s vocal delivery
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  24. 7.5 |   Spectrum Culture

    The album succeeds at marrying two eras which should probably never collide
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  25. 7.2 |   Paste Magazine

    The band sounds best when it puts the pedal to the floor on driving pop rockers like “Nothing to Find”
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  26. 7.1 |   Earbuddy

    The magic is still there, but a bit diminished
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  27. 7.0 |   Exclaim

    A big, bold sound isn't a bad thing, but the fact that this album is a little less engrossing than the band's past efforts shows that the most interesting thing about the War on Drugs' music isn't the way they channel their rock influences, but the way they subvert them
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  28. 7.0 |   Punk News

    Kudos for these slow, key-driven and soothing songs that peel away the layers and leave us exposed
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  29. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    It feels like The War on Drugs have made an agreeable, fan-pleasing album to escape into and hide in, not to a record to take on the world – but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing in 2017
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  30. 6.0 |   DIY

    Filled with enough to satisfy any existing fans
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  31. 6.0 |   Crack

    Nobody switched onto the band by their last LP is going to feel alienated by A Deeper Understanding, but Granduciel has expanded his sound
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  32. 6.0 |   Clash

    For any fans looking for progression, you'll be searching for a while
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  33. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    Too much of the record floats by in a soporific haze, while upbeat tracks such as Holding On and Nothing To Find lack bite
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  34. 6.0 |   The Independent

    It’s all too controlled and unambitious; and just aping Dylan’s wheeze doesn’t make it any more intriguing
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  35. 6.0 |   Mojo

    Exhilarating in places, but perhaps inevitably, given its long and convoluted gestation, it can at times feel like it’s trying too hard. Print edition only

  36. 6.0 |   The Skinny

    Lacks that spark that their previous releases had
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  37. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    The unrelenting motif of these dark nights of the soul and long, winding roads grows tiresome, blunting the impact of the War on Drugs’s finely tuned music
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  38. 5.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    This is exactly the kind of thing that led to punk
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