At The Drive In – In.Ter A.Li.A
Considering that this is ATDI’s first studio album in 17 years since their last release back in 2000, with Relationship of Command, there’s a lot of high expectations with this album, especially as this is the first without founding member Jim Ward.
Does it live up to those expectations, or does it disappoint? Well, No Wolf Like The Present and Continuum, whilst good songs in their own right, are very slow to start of with, but at least the third track, Tilting at the Univendor, where it truly starts to pick up, flows a lot better with the instruments. That’s not to say that the previous two songs have nothing to offer – both have very interesting guitar riffs, great drum rhythms, and very powerful vocals, courtesy of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Omar Rodríguez-López, and Tony Hajjar. Governed by Contagions uses clever lyrics within an amalgamation of great instrumentation, so it can be seen why this song was chosen to be the first single. One track that is worth listening to, Pendulum In A Peasant Dress, really takes that title to heart as it uses panning with its guitar riff to make the music feel like it is swaying like a pendulum – something that many bands and musicians should try. Incurably Innocent, as stated by Bixler-Zavala, is a song about finally speaking out about sexual abuse, and the vocals do tremendously to convey that, as they are very powerful within this song, and work well with the instrumentation. Call Broken Arrow is another song, as there’s a lot of musical creativity from both the guitars and bass. The drums really drive that song through, and the call & response feel near the end is a truly nice touch. Holtzclaw and Torrentially Cutshaw both have very strong lyrics, and both are sung/shouted with such conviction, that it really helps you get into the songs. Ghost Tape No.9 is the diamond in the rough in this album – it may be slower, but it’s no less powerful, as it conveys a mysterious but magical feeling to the album, even if it is near the end. The final track, Hostage Stamps, has a nice mystery to it, with great guitar lines, and a strong drum and bass line, though unsure about the random strings break though.
Overall, there’s a lot of great songs and great ideas that are conveyed through this album. Although a slow start, a very quick pick up, and carried on into greatness. Only thing keeping it from a perfect album is that there are random sound effects at the beginning and end to some songs. They don’t add anything, and they don’t continue into the other songs. Considering this album isn’t a concept album, and has no connecting themes, so it seems disjointed, and off-putting. But, aside from that, a truly stellar effort, and if this second reunion continues into more, we’ll be looking forward to hearing it.