Thursday Thive: Relationship of Command

Posted on August 1, 2013

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The more I delve back into At the Drive-In, the more I begin to think that ‘Relationship of Command’ sits way above all the other albums,  much in the same way that Refused’s discography is dwarfed by the wonder of ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’. Everything came into place for the band on this album, and I simply can’t imagine that band making a better album than that. Let’s thive it.

5: ‘One Armed Scissor’
I have absolutely no qualms with putting this song at number five. It is far and away their most well known song, so much so that I could very plausibly find it on a jukebox in Welshpool or hear a high school covers band playing it. It has one of those awkward choruses that is catchy as all hell in an un-traditional way, and some of the little pieces of guitar in the multiple breakdowns are worth the entrance fee alone. One negative though, I don’t care what history says, the performance of it on Jools Holland is nothing short of diabolical. The more I think about it, the more I realise that thats how Moses must sound at the Christmas Party after me and Ben have drunk ourselves useless.

4: ‘Sleepwalk Capsules’
I think this is what summer sounds like in my head. It’s all over the place in a very controlled way, much like most of the album. Still, it has a chorus to die for, and a beautifully clear and clean middle with typically undecipherable lyrics. Okay, maybe they are easily deciphered, I’m just too dumb for it. Cedric’s vocals are a joy during that part though, to the point that I would probably like to get stuck inside the sound of sleep.

3: ‘Pattern Against User’
The first song I heard by the band, on one of those glorious Kerrang free cds. And once again, another bizarre feeling of summer, or being in crowds of friends in the sun. It doesn’t sound like traditional sunshine music, but there is undoubtedly a clear element of sunshine about the whole thing. Wonderful drum intro, sunshine momentum taking over, big chorus, lovely middle, build build build BANG. At the Drive-In, in a particularly wonderful nutshell. Also, any song that ends exactly how it starts? Bonus points.

2: ‘Invalid Litter Dept’
The ballad? I suppose it’s a ballad, but I remember seeing this on mtv2 and being utterly in love with it. It was tense but fragile, beautiful but disfigured, and the little break of ‘dancing on the corpses ashes’ before it all goes ape balls is one of my all time favourite musical moments. The song ends with a scream that sounds more like fear than anything else. It isn’t full of beans, it isn’t full of MEEEEETAAAAAAL, it just sounds terrified, which makes it all the more incredible. It is exactly how this song should, and does end.

1: ‘Cosmonaut’
As soon as I heard this song, on the very TV broadcast that the above video is taken from, I knew it would be my favourite, and so it is. This is also the bit where I write that I’ve attempted to write a version of this song so many times in my life, it’s time to give up. This is At the Drive-In at their At the Drive-In best. The drumming is wonderful, the guitars are erratic yet tight, the whole thing just bulldozes its way through all in its path, and I love every single second of it. Always, always.

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Posted in: Music, Thursday Thive