Okay, so when it comes to the thread that is the AUK Chain Gang there are occasions when liberties have to be taken, boundaries pushed, the imagination stretched, etc. And so it came to pass that following on from last week’s offering from Steve Earle, ‘CCKMP (Cocaine Cannot Kill My Pain)’ this opportunity was just too easy to pass up. There may be howls of protest, or the odd whinge at least, when I offer up ‘Pain’ from The War on Drugs.
‘Pain’ is taken from ‘A Deeper Understanding’, the album that won a Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2018 for the band. The album capped a remarkable four year rise from Philadelphia obscurity to a place among the guitar greats for the band’s mastermind Adam Granduciel. The fact that the album struck gold in the Rock category might make this offering a tad dodgy on our esteemed website but, broad church that Americana undoubtedly is, I make no apologies for this submission.
‘A Deeper Understanding’ was album number four for the band and, on the back of the considerable acclaim received for the previous offering ‘Lost in The Dream’, the first with a major label, Atlantic. The unassuming Granduciel remarked that the whole experience felt like a privilege as they took in the fact that they were following the likes of the Chiili Peppers and Beck plying their art in studios like East West in LA. He describes the thrill of little pleasures such as the ability to fit everything into one room and being able to take as long as they need on the process.
The fact that the recently released new album ‘I Don’t Live Here Anymore’ will be promoted worldwide with an arena tour next year hints at just how the world has changed for the band. It could be an Americana bias talking but listening to ‘Pain’ just feels like our kind of music taken up a notch or three. It showcases perfectly the distinctive, throaty vocal of Granduciel and although there is a big sound/big studio feel to it the heart of the song, and indeed the album, remains those vocals and some brilliant guitar work.