belated tune: The War on Drugs, “Come to the City”

Download (right click, “Save As”): The War on Drugs, “Come to the City”

Typically, lines like “I’ve been ramblin'”–as found here in “Come to the City”–are reserved for scenes of dusty trails, worn leather boots. Within the context of Slave Ambient, the second full-length release from The War on Drugs, however, one gets the feeling that this ramblin’ isn’t about a long, linear journey so much as it is about bouncing within and against constraints.

And it’s not just the overtly urban nature of the title that invokes this feeling. As Adam Granduciel gives a vocal performance a la Bob Dylan, a contrastingly pulsing, almost glittery instrumental provides a distinct frame. Sure, play “Come to the City” on your cross-country roadtrip. But also play it from Granduciel’s point of delivery: the city, where a warm, jazzy sax croons from some unseen alleyway; where the mist under the streetlights is magically, appropriately translated to dream ambiance; and where too many electronic devices and engines in a square mile translate to a buzz and percussion that drives and grounds a piece.

If you haven’t already peeped it, Slave Ambient is one of the best and most distinctly sounding albums of the year, the rare collection that is at once instantly gratifying and complexly textured.

Fittingly, The War on Drugs is coming to Raleigh for a show at Kings Barcade on October 11. Find info and tickets on what is sure to be a special night here.