The War On Drugs have pulled off the increasingly rare feat of becoming a popular current rock band that didn’t start decades ago, winning Best Rock Album Grammy in 2017 for A Deeper Understanding. Still, they are something of a throwback, I Don’t Live Here Anymore channeling the smooth evening rock of the eighties that your dad loved.
Anymore is not aggressive hard rock or sludgy stoner rock of the seventies (despite the band’s name), but the very polished rock that dominated the airwaves when Reagan was president. This style is done in better and worse ways on the record, with standouts such as the title track (featuring Lucius) and the My Morning Jacket-like uplift of “Wasted”. But it is polished & smooth to the point of slick & shiny at other times, hindering the connection to the emotion beneath.
While the hipster crowd might feel that I Don’t Live Here Anymore is too mainstream (though hipsters seem to be grabbing for more & more popular appeal stuff these days…), that’s not the direction here. The War On Drugs are reviving popular rock for the twenty-first century.