"Relationship of Command" (Virgin/Grand Royal; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Relationship Of Command" is emo-core with a knack for diversity. And let me be the first to tell you that diversity rules the game on "Relationship Of Command." Quite frankly, At The Drive-In need all the diversity they can get to impress me beyond the massive hype machine that is promoting this band (At The Drive-In is Rolling Stone's 'hot band' of 2001). However, despite all the hype, "Relationship Of Command" is still worth hearing.

With Ross Robinson as a producer I was expecting something with a little more aggressive edge. Instead, what At The Drive-In offer is a more vulnerable version of Handsome. I thought Handsome were a severely underrated band and didn't even get a smidgen of 1% of all the hype that At The Drive-In are currently getting.

At The Drive In's music is fundamentally a good mix of rock'n'roll, punk, and emo-core with dashes of reggae thrown in for good measure. Most of the songs tend to hit the five-minute mark which is good for capturing all of the band's ideas, but not particularly great for keeping the listener's attention. Although it was nice to hear vocals with a higher level of emotion, I must admit the somewhat nasally vocals got on my nerves a little bit over the course of the disc.

Highpoints include the very cool "Arcarsenal," the sprawling Gemini-twins of "Invalid Litter Dep't" and "Rolodex Propaganda," and the frenzied "Mannequin Republic."

I certainly wouldn't call At The Drive-In 'metal' and I wouldn't necessarily call it 'hard rock' either. At The Drive-In's roots in rock and punk brought forward to today's penchant for aggressive music definitely makes it worthy of the pages of Rough Edge.

"Relationship Of Command" features the stellar production team of Ross Robinson as producer and Andy Wallace as mixer.

At The Drive-In is Cedric, Omar, Tony, Jim, and Paul. Iggy Pop guests on backing vocals on "One Armed Scissor."

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.