At the Drive-In - in•ter a•li•a
At the Drive-In
A reunion record can go a number of different ways, but the goal is often to recapture what made your debut so inspiring while not acting like the years between records never happened. At the Drive-In have returned after 17 years out of the game with this new record in•ter a•li•a. It has all the hallmarks of early 2000s emo, loud, aggressive but with a sad heart smack dab in the middle. This record feels like it could have been plucked right out of 2003, and used to debate all the worst parts of emo. With all the incredible work that members of At the Drive-In have done with bands like The Mars Volta you would expect some of those more interesting elements to creep on this record, but they never do. Instead of being a post rock exploration, or a deep dive into some kind of new sound At the Drive-In are perfectly comfortable with the sound they have always had. Where The Mars Volta feels like something crafted in the studio and really worked on, much of this album feels like a loose punk rock jam, leaving you with this feeling like it was recorded in one take. The guitar distortion sounds so similar on each track that everything ends up sounding almost exactly the same, even the pace is unchanging.
This sound was so explosive 20 years ago, but now it feels like such well worn territory that it barely moves the needle. No one sounds like At the Drive-In and back in 2000 that was really important, however today no one sounds like At the Drive-In because no one really wants to anymore. So many times while listening to this record you look up and have no idea if you are listening to a new song or what is going on. There are very few times you can even make out the lyrics let alone glean any meaning from them, which for a band like At the Drive-In is a real problem. It feels like the band are always setting you up for something else, something better, but that thing never comes and the album becomes much more exposition than actually getting into the nitty gritty of making this record. "Ghost-Tape No. 9" brings a slower burn vibe to the album, but it also is one of the most grating tracks as it sort of lumbers along. in•ter a•li•a might be the return that so many At the Drive-In fans have been waiting for, but in terms of moving the band forward it doesn't do nearly enough. Listen if you are in the mood for a bit of nostalgia, but don't expect much.
5.0 out of 10