Sprawling is the best way to describe The War on Drugs’ sound. It’s a sound that has been compared to Dylan, Spaceman 3, My Bloody Valentine and Bruce Springsteen - which is to say they are a band that make expansive, textured records that still have an eye on the anthemic and a beating heart and a raised rock fist.

Since their debut Wagonwheel Blues was released in 2008, a lot has changed. Now a three piece after the departure of Charlie Hall, Kyle Lloyd and, most noticeably, Kurt Vile, they return with Slave Ambient, a 47-minute journey into the heart of American rock. While Vile has made his own acclaimed album, War on Drugs have always been captained by the gravelly voiced Adam Granduciel - and his ambition to match Vile shines through on Slave Ambient. However, extending this metaphor where it’s perhaps not wanted, this ambition sometimes sees his ship lose course and veer too close to the rocks of bluster (where Richard Ashcroft once capsized). Yet, when he gets it right this is classic rock shot through a Spaceman 3 lens. It takes styles that really have no right being together - 60s country and 80s pop, drone rock and Americana - and makes you realise they make sense.

There are fantastic songs on here: the Springsteen-like ‘Baby Missiles’ (in 
a different version here 
than on 2010's Future Weather EP) is life affirming, stomping rock; ‘Brothers’ is swooning and lovely, ‘Come To The City’ droney but anthemic while ‘Blackwater’ could be Dylan.

Where this album succeeds is taking these contrasting ideas and building something that triumphs over all its influences. Slave Ambient is a record that distills these disparate influences into a classic rock album that rarely sounds like classic rock – in the very best meaning of that nonsensical sentence.