Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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At the Drive-In

  • Relationship of Command [Virgin, 2000] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Relationship of Command [Virgin, 2000]
What ever are they emoting about? Doesn't much matter. In one song I especially like, wordy low-life vignettes (pimps, polyester, paramedics; defected, excommunicated, subverted) are revved by simultaneous guitar chime and guitar noise that gives way to a sweet refrain of "Dancing on the corpse's ashes," which is subsumed in turn by a raucous chorus with a wishing well in it. Passion in El Paso is what all this comes down to, and fleshed out with comparable sonics and shaped into associatively elongated songforms, that's enough. In a bad time for young guitar bands, including many barely forgettable ones lumped under the trade name "emo," these ambitious yowlers are reason for hope. For four consecutive CDs they've developed, developed, developed. Not only do they believe, they can back it up. A-