Debating which of this or “Lost in the Dream” is the better album is academic. They are different to be sure: the band’s move to LA seems to have wound their songs tighter and more focused, as if emanating from a machine – less air between notes, higher tempos, more dynamic vocals. Guitar crescendos recall Neil Young, screaming on the edge of sound system destruction. In his lower register, Granduciel could be a Tom Petty stand-in. Even with these (and other) obvious influences, it’s hard to confuse this band with any other. This work is a thematic continuation from the previous album. Granduciel is “Thinking of a Place” that he can’t (or doesn’t want to) describe, and stays “up all night / spinning round the floor”. “Thinking of a Place” is a rare 10+ minute odyssey that I’m never tempted to skip, a steady trot through a dreamlike soundscape. The music is a pressure valve for his anxiety. Listen with headphones, and you feel inside a tonal snow globe, happy to be trapped for a while.
[“Up All Night”, “Pain”, “Knocked Down”, “Thinking Of A Place”]