Among the many exclusives and goodies that were available on Record Store Day (aka Hipster Christmas) last weekend, fans of the Philly indie rockers The War On Drugs got a particularly exciting gift: A special RSD 12" featuring a brand-new original song, "Thinking of A Place." The track is everything we've come to love and expect from the Adam Granduciel-led group, whose unique mix of psychedelia and Americana won them much-deserved praise on 2014's Lost In The Dream.
Through TWOD has never been one to stick to the magic "3:30 or less" rule, the track is over 11 minutes long, which is always tricky to pull off because you almost need to justify the time length to the listener in order for them to stick around for the whole thing. While this usually means throwing in some kind of musical explosion in the song's final act, Granduciel pushes grand gestures to the side, instead letting it linger at a steady pace without building or losing momentum. The sprawling wall of sound, soaring guitar solos, and the warm, nostalgic production gives the song a quality that perfectly balances the line between vintage and modern. That spacy, reverb-drenched Americana sound has greatly influenced the indie rock world the past few years, and has even spilled over to mainstream pop on occasion, but no one still does it quite as accurately and confidently as TWOD.
The gentle synths and guitars linger and hum throughout the track, and the lack of clear pause or moment of silence gives the song a constant sense of movement, floating along as Granduciel fondly reminisces about times long past. It's not necessarily a song that slowly builds towards a conclusion, but that's never what TWOD intended to do. Like the best jam bands who have come before them, TWOD's music is about the journey, engulfing you in reverb and guitar fuzz as you wander through the meticulously placed layers of sound. In that regard, "Thinking Of A Place" is the ultimate driving song: It's a long, hypnotic, mid-tempo track that you can leave on in the background and let it wash over you. Give this track a listen whenever you're on an open, empty road, or when you simply want to get lost in your head, revisiting old times within the sonic haze.