How is it possible that At The Drive-In sound fresher today than ever? 17 years since their last release, Relationship In Command, they’re back but this isn’t some tired washed-up band who are releasing more material because they’ve run out of money. This is kids in their garage picking up their instruments and jamming together for the first time. In Inter Alia, At The Drive-In have come full circle.
By Graeme Smith
One track deep, lost among the chaos of No Wolf Like The Present, you’re transported back to a sticky, smoke-filled club, throwing yourself around in a mosh pit of equally skinny, big-fringed teens. Continuum brings back Omar Rodriguez’s signature spoken-word vocal attacks alongside a big, stadium-filling chorus.
With each track, At The Drive-In deliver more of what you want, bespoke bass, jarring riffs and political themes perhaps more relevant now than ever. There’s none quite like At The Drive-In to get a single-line refrain trapped in the head of the listener. Exhibit A: Pendulum In A Peasant Dress’s “one shot in the chamber”; exhibit B: Incurably Innocent’s “the moment you need to emasculate his photograph.”
Both the strength and weakness of Inter alia is that each track is so well-crafted it’s difficult to pick out highlights. The album does certainly start so strongly that comparing its later tracks to its opening ones seems unfair. It’s probably best to say that Inter Alia is best enjoyed as a complete package, no skipping.
This is the album that At The Drive-In swore they’d never make and the one their fans desperately wanted. Now that it’s here, it doesn’t disappoint, probably because it achieves the impossible by feeling both nostalgic and fresh. It’s a must for fans and probably also a good place to start for anyone coming across them for the first time.
Inter Alia by At The Drive-In is available now.