To deduce the overarching themes of this Philadelphia band's third album, just scan the track list, which almost reads like a cry for help, given that War on Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel is evidently "Under the Pressure" with "Red Eyes," "Suffering" while crossing "An Ocean in Between the Waves," "Burning" and on the way to "Disappearing" "In Reverse."
All of which is to say that, yeah, Lost in the Dream is less than a merry affair. Between the songs' obsessively recurring lyrical images (pain, darkness, disappearance, broken hearts) and the real-life backstory — Granduciel reportedly split with his girlfriend in the early stages of putting the record together — it's tempting to take this as a breakup album focused more on the Lost than the Dream.
If 2011's Slave Ambient represented a breakthrough, this one is an out-and-out star-maker that should rank among the year's best albums. Simultaneously spare and just as fully fleshed out as it needs to be, Dream is a perfect distillation of Granduciel's wide-open claustrophobia. The sound is more expansive than ever, even as its maker's songs seem more personal and less universal. DAVID MENCONI
Read SPIN's review here.