Sunday, July 03, 2005

At The Drive-In / This Station is Non-Operational / Rating 8.3

Working with scraps of material gave birth to an American nineteenth century passion called quilting. This homespun art still produced today manipulates color, harmony, scale and texture to perfection; allowing personal style to expand outward one square at a time. The final finished product composed of many smaller parts offers an intimate look into the talent and life of its creator. In this case, creators. “This Station is Non-Operational” patchworks and culminates 7 years of At The Drive-In’s galvanic chemistry. Their motif of mercurial expression is stretched between 18 songs and in turn a part of the bands history is retold, flaws and all.

Jason Crock gives a lengthy and incredibly accurate overview of the cd but scarcely mentions the bonus disc / dvd. For those of you who own much of the music found on disc 1, your primary source of stimuli may be found on disc 2.

One Armed Scissor ( video)
Invalid Litter Dept. ( video)
Metronome Arthritis (video)
Operations Manual - Electronic Press Kit ( mini bio w/ band comments)
Discography Wallpaper & Buddy Icons ( for ye old computer)

ATDI’s earliest material wears several influences on its sleeve (next to their hearts) but I am wholly reminded of one band in particular after listening to “Lopsided”; Garden Variety. For many bands in the early / mid 90’s post hardcore scene bands like Rites of Spring, Pitchfork, Drive like Jehu, Slint, and Squirrel Bait were also primary points of inspiration and this torch has been translated and passed along to countless others over the past two decades. To my ears Garden Variety is one of the key threads spanning the distance between the emo forefathers and the now legendary At The Drive-In. Every quilt needs thread and “This Station is Non-Operational” is no exception. Every icon has its influences and more often than not those influences remain unsung heroes. GV is just one example.

Collections such as these end up serving two purposes: one covers a band’s career and the other reflects the period of time they were incubating within. I won’t be listening to this ATDI collection again anytime soon but I have re-pledged my allegiance to some of the bricks that helped shape their path.