The War on Drugs’ ‘Thinking of a Place’ plays out like one continuous shot. Unravelling over 11 minutes, Adam Granduciel sews together several episodes, whilst never quite disappearing into one segment or another. There’s a distinct transparency about it that never quite finds peak intensity but the perpetualism of each episode blending into the one another ensures that ‘Thinking of a Place’ never loses its impulse.
These episodes are marked out by specific instrumentation; distorted guitar solos, harmonica reverb and faraway piano. Their respective entrances disrupt Granduciel’s reverie but with zero disturbance of the composition, feeding into the diaphanous texture of the song. The effectiveness of this track, like so many other cuts from The War on Drugs, is the unobtrusive nature of building that power cumulatively. There’s never a burst of energy but there’s never a lull either, giving Granduciel this sense of equilibrium. The title of the song lends further credence to that notion; Granduciel remains in a state of flux. It keeps The War on Drugs firmly in the present and there’s an inimitable realness in that.