At the Drive-In
At the Drive-In, post-hardcore punk rockers from El Paso, Texas, have never made things easy. From their off-kilter time signatures to their often incomprehensible lyrics, they have always been a bludgeoning assault on the senses that threatens to spin gloriously out of control. Now, five years after their first reunion, guitarist Jim Ward has departed for a second time (relations within the band have ever been volatile), to be replaced by Keeley Davis, his bandmate from Sparta, the group Ward started after ATDI first imploded. So do they burn as intensely on new album in*ter a*li*a as they did on their previous studio release, 2000’s incendiary Relationship of Command? Yes they do, starting with the manic frenzy of lead single Governed by Contagions. “Brace yourself, my darling / Brace yourself, my love” Cedric Bixler-Zavala sings, in between spat verses of venom and the razor-sharp guitar of six-string confidant Omar Rodríguez-López. Fine advice indeed.