As I am listening to The War On Drug’s follow up to their breakthrough record Lost In The Dream, I cannot help but imagining that this is what would have happened had Neil Young, during that 80s period when David Geffen was seeing him for not sounding like Neil Young, sacked Crazy Horse for Talk Talk, brought in Talk Talk’s producer Tim Friese-Greene and co-written with Bruce Springsteen!
There are yearning harmonicas straight off The River or Harvest. There are the vocal intonations of Bruce, on In Chains. Neil Young guitar work outs are omnipresent. Adam Granduciel heaps all these influences through the blender and comes up with a sound all his own.
Like Friese-Greene, Granduciel is meticulous in his layering of instruments but with the density of the production the finished rock symphony glides gently over your soul. A Deeper Understanding is another huge slice of hypnotic ambient gorgeous lushness with psychedelic guitars and big wash synth. It is utterly beautiful.
Lyrically, A Deeper Understanding is caught between the dark and love. Those words are recurring throughout. Thinking Of A Place sets the content of this dichotomy of place: -
I'm moving through the dark
Of a long black night
And I'm looking at the moon
And the light it shines
And I'm thinking of a place
And it feels so very real
Oh, it was so full of love.
Pain best describes what Granduciel is seeking in that place: -
Pull me close and let me hold you in
Give me the deeper understanding of who I am
Yeah, I'm going back again, I'm waiting here
A Deeper Understanding is not so much a revelation of the answers to life’s dilemmas, it is more a beautiful piece of soundtrack to help us meditate on where we are, as we seek the guidance and the strength to find where to go next.
It is another album of astonishing achievement and beauty.