At The Drive-In - Relationship of Command
Grand Royal

Ever since word got out last year that indiepunk's current darling band --
At The Drive-In -- had signed to upstart major label, DEN, the buzz has
been solely about how their music would change. Would the band become a
sell-out legend in the eyes of 16-year olds everywhere? 

Well, to answer all of the 16-year olds out there that debate the relative selling-out-ness of bands: no. At The Drive-In has survived their label's collapse and ended up on the Beastie Boys own label with their music (and, perhaps more importantly, their cred) intact.
"Relationship of Command" is the first recording of At The Drive-In that has really capture their live sound, which is what they are really famous for anyway. Listening to "Relationship of Command," one who has seen ATDI live simply can't help but imagine vocalist Cedric Bixler jumping around the stage, swinging the mic into the crowd and dancing around as if he was in the midst of an epileptic seizure.
At The Drive-In trade in two commodities -- ferocity and intensity. ATDI has all the ferocity of Rage Against the Machine coupled with the intensity of early Fugazi. Musically, ATDI is on par with either of those two bands. Lyrically, however, I still find Bixler's lyrics to be lacking a little, although they seem stronger than on past releases. From the first time I heard ATDI, I thought Bixler's delivery -- a cross between shouting and a stacatto almost rap-like style -- was incredible. However, I've always thought his lyrics to be a little too nonsensical for me to get into. What I can understand of the lyrics on "Relationship of Command" (gee, thanks for a lyric sheet, guys!) seems to give them a new depth, although it still seems like a lot more effort was given to the music.
Will this record be a commercial success? It is difficult to tell -- one would think ATDI would go over well with all the kids who are in love with Rage Against the Machine, but I heard that ATDI's stint opening for Rage was not well-received. However, should ATDI breakthrough into commercial radio and MTV, they could just be the saviors of rock that everyone is searching for.
...john heisel...

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