The third album from Philadelphia band War on Drugs has an authentically loose hippy sensibility, singer Adam Granduciel wondering “How can I be free?” as guitars eddy and swirl inquiringly around him. But where other questers after cosmic truth might lose themselves in meandering jams, Granduciel and his bandmates anchor their musings with motorik beats, an inspired strategy that has the effect of fusing the open American landscape of 1970s rock with the metronomic pulse of krautrock.

Swept along by the music, the lyrics are full of images of motion and the elements – “wading in the water”, “sailing down here on the wind”, “come and ride away”. “We’re just living in the moment, making our path,” he sings: the sense of discovery places the echoes of the past, especially the Dylanesque intonations of Granduciel’s voice, in a more intriguing imaginative setting than the retro-worship practised by so many other bands.

War on Drugs

Lost in the Dream

(Secretly Canadian)

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