What Year Is It?! New Material From At The Drive In

My inner 16 year old is ecstatic and pissed off. At The Drive In is arguably THE post-hardcore band. The El Paso quintent made some of the weirdest, hardest hitting songs from the mid 90s to their hiatus in 2000. Members shifted around the music scene since then–from the radio-friendly sounds of Sparta and the proggy meanderings of The Mars Volta, from the noise-dub of de Facto to the latin rock fusion of Bosnian Rainbows.

Then in 2012, the impossible happened. At The Drive In announced they would play a few festivals. I made it a priority to see them. While their performance at Lollapalooza did not have all the energy of their appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show (Omar’s mother had just passed, so he was, understandably, distant), it was a performance that would remain in my mind for a long time.

It seems impossible lightning has struck again. Last week, At The Drive In released a new song and a new video. The song, “Governed By Contagions,” sounds like vintage At The Drive In. Angular riffs and pummelling rhythms collide with surrealist, vaguely political lyrics to make a track that is powerful enough to erase the past 16 years of silence from the band. If you love At The Drive In, you’ll love this track. If you’ve never heard At The Drive In, take a deep breath and hit play.

It seems the near two decades of working on other projects has sharpened the whole band. Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice vaults through his wavering melodies and sharp barks with an energy that hasn’t been present since The Mars Volta released Amputechture. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s guitars are as woolly as ever but with a bit more maturity behind their noise-flirting noodling. Jim Ward’s vocals and rhythm guitar work more seamless with these leads, providing a fuller sound than anything on Relationship of Command.

There’s a moment in “Governed by Contagions” in which Bixler-Zavala shouts “There will come a day to delete everything.” It seems the front man was speaking directly about the United States. Truly, 2016 has been a strange, strange year. Some serious messed up stuff has been happening across the country and globe–in regards to equality (on all fronts), the environment, and basic human rights. Perhaps, the time to delete everything is upon us.

The first time I heard At The Drive In, the United States was gearing up for another war. The post-hardcore outfit gave my rage a sound. The first time I heard “Governed by Contagions” I thought this is what I need. If you need a reason to let your angsty self out, this track is the perfect soundtrack to getting upset with our current political situation. I can only hope this single will be followed by an equally powerful album.

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