AT THE DRIVE-IN - VAYA
Commonly known as the height of this Mexican hardcore five piece's career is their third and final album, 'Relationship of Command'. I disagree. This predecessor release, a seven song EP, may be a few tracks short of an album, but we're always taught it's quality not quantity, and this CD is precisely that: quality.
I can't put my finger on the reason, but you couldn't simply add a few more tracks and release this as an album. It's seven songs, no more, no less. While their albums always seem to flow perfectly from start to finish with variation and strength, this is more simply a collection of songs that each stands by itself without question. That is far from a bad thing; packed with jumping riffs, smooth basslines and a good vocal range, every song on this EP is full of its own charms. The cryptic lyrics are back on form with the singalong chorus on opening track 'Rascuache' (however you pronounce that) consisting of the line "Pacemaker pace yourself!" Singer Cedric Bixler Zavala shows off his talent much more than in the shoutathon 'Relationship ..', especially in final track '198d', where his voice is the leading instrument through a slow deep song. Genius guitarist Omar A Rodriguez Lopez is on top form too with memorable upbeat riffs on all the first four tracks. Every track has its own personality, rather than just being a small step in a long album. To release just these seven songs together showcases their brilliance in a better way. The only small letdown is '300 MHz' which suffers from a lumbering chorus. But they're only human.
The varied style here shows much progression from their first punk outing, showing they are unafraid to let their imagination run wild. The only broad genre you can stick this under is 'Rock'; no other word can succeed in labelling it. But who cares about that, just listen to it and that's all you can do.