At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2000-09-18

It's maddeningly rare that a band can provide a visceral thrill--Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name"--and still work the grey matter as well. Here's a band that's refined the art. Hailing from El Paso, Texas, At The Drive-In come poised somewhere between the rabid showmanship of The Make-Up and the avant-complexity of emo pioneers The Lapse, but through sheer adrenaline alone, leave both bands choking on their exhaust fumes. Sure, they're got their unique selling point--lead singer Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez both sport immense Afros--but this band is no idle gimmickry. Recorded after a stint touring with Rage Against The Machine, Relationship Of Command is the punk-rock real deal, the angular hardcore dynamic of "One Armed Scissor" and "Rolodex Propaganda" (the latter featuring the rabid holler of a guest-starring Iggy Pop) as focused and affecting as any rock music to come out of America for the last five years. "And the paramedics fell into the wound like a re-hired scab at a fair-headed plant, an anaesthetic penance beneath a hail of contraband!" spits Bixler on the album's high water mark, "Invalid Letter Dept". "Dancing on the corpses' ashes!" What does it all mean? Do you really need to ask? All get down for At The Drive-In, punk-rock heroes for a cerebral America. --Louis Pattison

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