I got the sudden urge to listen to At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command yesterday - and not having it in my music collection, I ventured off to my local torrent provider to get it. It's one of those albums you mightn't stay in contact with for years but when you meet it again, you're pleasantly surprised by how good a shape it's in. It still sounds as fresh and urgent as its release in 2000, a year that also saw them kicking and screaming their way into the collective conscience with their legendary performance on Later With Jools Holland. Their performance was so primal and chaotic, that given half the chance they would have shitted all over Jool's piano, which is no bad thing.
Album downloaded, I pulled the speakers closer to me, pressed play and turned the volume up to 11, in the process discovering there is no vulume 11 on my PC speakers and that it's a dumb cliché that I'll never, ever use again. Anyone that's familiar with the album will know it's loud enough anyway - pressing play is the sonic equivalent of waking up to find two angry men on either side of you shouting in your ears.
As an album, the songs form a surprisingly cohesive whole given the chaotic energy unleashed within. One Armed Scissor was their "hit" single off the album, a sort of shizophrenic breakdown set to music. Then there's Cosmonauts, a song so epic it feels like you're rocking alongside He-Man...in Space. Ol' Vagina Face Iggy Pop pops up in the middle of the album with two songs - he plays the kidnapper at the start of Enfilade - a latin-metal hybird that descends into the Lambada halfway through - and Rolodex Propoganda where he sounds like a smug old age pensioner mumbling his way through the chorus. A glimpse of what was to come with Mars Volta can be heard on my personal favourite off the album - the brilliant Invalid Litter Dept. It's At the Drive-In's first stab at all-out-rock opera and sounds like something the Zombie Ben Elton might write some day.
It's an unrelenting album that demands your attention like a kid with ADD on a sugar rush. Dig it out and give it another blast on the stereo. It's brilliant.