on 22 August 2007
I cant believe no-one has actually reviewed this already! I know ATDI have got a sizeable following nowadays - has little record been overlooked?
The first to say about this record in comparison to the well better known Realtionship of Command, is that this doesn not have the 'bombastic' sound of the very well prouced later albums.
R.O.Command has very high production values giving it a very 'sonically charged' feel. This, on the other hand, - is every bit as lively and energetic with spikey guitar lines and intiricate melodies, but is not as well produced as ROC.
The sound is very sketchy and almost a bit Lo-Fi. It works very well tho - sounds a bit like early Fugazi, but with a bit more venom.
There are some ATDI best songs on this album. The opener 'Starslight' starts the proceedings, setting the tone for the rest of the album.
It is a fast paced song - with undicipherable vocals, tight percussion and the song moves between chorus and verse in the oddly erratically-elegant way that only they can achieve.
the second song 'Schaffino' blends numerous guitar parts and leads, with a cacophany of drums and bass that at first just sounds like a huge mess - but unravels itself into a fantastic upbeat melody.
other highlights inlcude the more sombre 'INITIATION' and and the wonderful 'Skips the Record' - which sounds like it is exactly doing that. Again the interplay between guitars, not just on the this song but the whole album is a joy - it takes the band away from the direct fast and loud approach of some punk related bands and puts them in their own little league.
To sum this album up - it is energetic, messy, erratic, lively, yet it is also full of execllent craftsman ship, awesome dynamics and brilliant (yelled) harmonies.
If you liked the multi layered approach of their later work, the energy and dynamics then this raw, early album will be a great addition.
if you are more into the noise of ROC and like the music louder ratehr than sketchy 0 then you might not be so interested in this one.
on 6 January 2005
Relationship of Command is At The Drive-In's best record but this is something alot of people take for granted. In Casino/Out is also hot property but the best thing about Acrobatic Tentament is how good the songs are and how crap the quality of the recording is. The songs are echo-ey (is this a word?)and many a time Bexler is out of tune, but for some reason (and it is a bit of a cliche) it sounds superb. Relationship had a very polished edit but the rawness of Tentament shows how the band started. There are lots of clever rolling songs that despite their seeming obscurity- stick in your head. Brilliant
on 6 June 2001
although i dont think this has the same intenity and rabid energy as relationship of command, it is still a great album. it is worth buying just to see how at the drive ins sound has developed, but it is in its self very good. Tracks such as "ticklish" and "star slight" are at the drive in at there very best, fast paced, angry and possesing a kind of fervour that no other band around today can match.
on 10 March 2003
This is one of those albums that seems to grow on you the more you listen to it. After the first few songs you might think this album has been rushed, writing wise and recorded in a hurry. But the truth is that it is a mind-blowing work of genius which comes as standard with ATD-I. And as every ATD-I album, it has supreme originality which i always look for in a record. ATD-I have worked hard to produce an album which is a world apart from the majority of bland punk-rock bands around these days. This album sends chills down the back of your spine when Cedric hits those high notes with real passion, when Jim strikes his guitar strings with raw emotion and when Tony keeps a timely rhythm whilst being as complex as possible. The whole band works together to make a sound so unique and so original you wonder why they don't get the recognition they deserve. Highlights on the album include...'Star Slight','Ebroglio','Ticklish' and 'Porfirio Diaz'. Go buy this album right now...
on 6 November 2000
in some ways better than the more recent 'relationship...' album by being more raw and angry, the songs are more punky but shorter. havent checked out the cd-rom part yet which was a surprise bonus. at the drive in are a superb band and this shows what a great start they had
on 11 April 2005
AT THE DRIVE-IN - ACROBATIC TENEMENT
The first album release for Mexican hardcore outfit 'At the Drive-in'. This is where it all began, but fans of their later more mainstream work might feel at a loss with the raw material. The band was young at the time, and the debut must not have seemed so groundbreaking at the time, as it suffers from the bad recording quality coupled with a minor record deal.
But does that reduce enjoyment? Only slightly; what may disappoint more so is the general amateur feel of the whole album. Several tracks have repeated sections and slow quiet parts that don't merit that progressive feel, but rather that 'we don't know what to do here' feel. If you heard it before any of the 'At The Drive-in''s later work then at least you'll be pretty touched by the originality of the whole thing. The opening bursts in with a sing song yodel type sound, and then an instant battering of the guitars, and a minute later it's over. Most of the songs are quite short, hence the need to repeat things. But this is far from simply a museum piece showcasing where the rest of their material came from; it has plenty of merits of it's own. See Cedric Bixler Zavala's poetic verses outline typical teenage feelings, like stalking, for example, in quiet ballad 'Initiation'. Whether the lyrics make too much sense or not is irrelevant; the deep emotional soul he pours into his words is heart stopping. About a friend who died in 'Ebroglio' he wails "There are no words to express the loss I feel since you've been away", and on highlight 'Ticklish' he cries "I've been dancing in bathroom stalls excreting words just for this song."
The band's imagination is evident on every track, but at this early stage they lacked the skill to pull off anything too complex. There is nothing in the way of Omar A Rodriguez Lopez's blaring guitar solos and the riffs seem more about hitting the guitar as much as possible. I'm sure live in concert it would sound much nicer, but I guess the band's demise means I'll never know. This is worth the purchase if you liked the other two albums, and personally I think it earns itself a buy regardless.
on 24 March 2001
Put simply, I agree with the previous review. The songs on this album are just as rocking as the "Relationship.." album, and it almost feels like a double album with "Relationship.." Standout tracks are "Initiation" which you might call a ballad if this wasnt At The Drive-In, and "Embroglio", which reminds me of "mannequin republic" from the latest album. If you liked "Relationship..." you'll love Acrobatic Tenement.
on 23 January 2002
so, his voice is rarely caught in tune, and the guitar riffs dont come close to relationship but this album is a lost gem. amongst the second rate recording and the weird computerised catalougs lies a great album for any real emo at the drive-in fan. musical genious... ebroglio
on 24 March 2002
One of those albums that gets better the more times you listen to it, Acrobatic Tenement is a must for emo-punk and at the drive-in fans. Although some songs could be a little longer they still provide that adrenaline pumping rythm that is expected from at the drive-in. An album full of flavour and creation from the start, only let down slighlty by the recording quality. *Excellent*