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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jul 19th, 2017

At the Drive-In: in.ter a.li.a

At the Drive-In
in.ter a.li.a
(Rise Records)

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One of the most exciting things that happened to me this year was finally getting to see At the Drive-In live. I missed them in their original incarnation and their first couple reunion rounds sold out impossibly fast, but in March I finally got to see a band I thought I would never get the chance to. My excitement only grew when I heard their new single, “Governed By Contagions.” It was their first bit of new material in 16 years, and it was awesome.

I’m somewhat sorry to report that “Governed By Contagions” is by far the best song on the album. It’s fair to call in.ter a.li.a a mild disappointment, but let’s be fair in general. Relationship of Command would have been an extremely difficult album to follow if they’d done it in their prime. Doing so after so much time is truly an unenviable task. There’s no way it ever could have met fans expectations.

One thing I can say for it, it’s not the half-assed cash grab reunion album it could’ve been. The band members, plus new member Keeley Davis taking over for Jim Ward, sound happy to be making music together. The old chemistry is still there and everyone is still bringing something to the table. Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s vocal range has dropped a little with age, and we all know Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is capable of more, but hearing them back in the context of At the Drive-In is still pretty great. It’s fairly remarkable how they can go back to playing in a style whose heyday was in the early aughts, and make it sound current while still doing it better than any of their contemporaries. Don’t think of this as the mediocre follow up to Relationship of Command. Think of it as the debut album of their second phase.

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At the Drive-In: in.ter a.li.a