Saturday, March 18

Mr. Dogg Classics - Relationship of Command

Another Mr. Dogg classic. I'm doing this because I want to give the new Rhett Miller album another listen before it goes to the block. So without further ado......

ARTIST: At The Drive In
ALBUM: Relationship of Command
YEAR: 2000

COMMENTS: I am still mad at At The Drive In. I'm mad at them and I may never get over it. The kind of anger and sadness that I get when I think of this album would give every band at victory records 3 albums worth of material. But my anger is justified; these guys were supposed to save rock and roll. They were supposed to make it dangerous and edgy again. They were supposed to breath creativity and life back into an old and dying genre. They were supposed to bridge gaps between completely different styles of music. And I am mad because on "Relationship of Command" showed that At The Drive In could pull it off it they wanted. And then they broke up.

In a way its fitting that it happened. "Relationship of Command" is an example of a band walking away on their own terms, at the top of their game. Because make no mistake, they were at the top of their game on this album. The album opens with "Arcaresenal"; a blast of driving bass and intertwining guitar riffs that are a big part of At The Drive In's signature sound. By the time the vocals kick in, they already have you by the short hairs, and they don't let got anytime soon.

The album just keeps rolling from there. Songs like "One Armed Scissor" and "Sleepwalk Capsules" keep the pace with their fast passed driving drums and more guitars. It's not until "Invalid Letter Dept." that At The Drive In slow down, and the make or break point of the band is fully displayed. Vocalist Cedric Blixer uses a kind of stream of conscious lyric style that would make alot of sense if you were on acid, but ultimately means absolutely nothing at all. (Go ahead and try to tell me something like a vivid dissection that mocked the strut of vivisection semi-automatic colonies and a silencing that still walks the streets means ANYTHING) While this may bother some people, At The Drive In are good enough at their craft that the music more than makes up for the bizarre words. In short, they pull it off.

The album just gets better and better. While the band maintains their hard rocking post-emo-post-everything style, it never gets stale. Songs like "Enfilade", "Quarantined", and most notibly "Cosmonaut", which gets my vote for best song on the album, make sure that no track get skipped, and no face is left unrocked.

"Relationship of Command" could have just been the beginning. It could have changed everything about modern rock and roll. It could have, to use the cliché, saved it. But listening to the album, one gets the sense that At The Drive In never really bought that. And maybe, in the end, that is why they broke up, even though they made an album as good as "Relationship of Command". Maybe it was their way of saying rock and roll didn't need to be saved, it just needed to be refreshed. Mission: Accomplished

RATING: 9.5 out of 10
TRACKS: "Cosmonaut" "Enfilade" "Quarantined" "Arcarsenal" "Sleepwalk Capsules" "One Armed Scissor"

NOTE: Sorry about this Rhett Miller CD taking so long, I've been busy. But I promise I will have it up before friday, and maybe even another CD up by Friday. But look for the Rhett miller by friday at least.

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