Following At the Drive-In’s amazing announcements today, I thought I’d celebrate by listening to some of their stuff. Now I’m listening to Vaya, their post-millennial EP, so I thought I might as well give it a review.
From start to finish, over this album is a veil of punk rock. Every song is punk. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the overall quality of the album proves. Punk brings along with it energy, and this album, though not quite as much as Relationship of Command, brings that in abundance. This energy along with fantastically varied – yet simple sounding – guitar work (by the genius Omar Rodriguez Lopez himself), aggressive bass work and brilliant drumming makes for a good sound throughout. This sound shines through with Rascuache, Proxima Centauri and Ursa Minor — especially Proxima Centauri, which is one of At the Drive-In’s better songs. However, some relatively one tone shout-singing from the young Cedric and some less accomplished melodies don’t benefit the music, as the slightly crazy Heliotrope partially shows.
Slightly crazy: those two words may be this album’s problem. It doesn’t seem either indie rock influenced music or crazy punk has taken over by this point, and so the two blend together, and don’t quite agree with each over.
By all means, though, it’s not a bad album in any right. It’s a good one. The aforementioned great instrumental work along with the album’s general energy (though not throughout the whole album) and it’s uniquely sinister feel make it this – with use of effects and keyboard working wonders.
Vaya is a good little album. Though it brings brilliant musicality, and a lot of very unique sounding ideas; it’s flawed. Flawed in that it clearly isn’t truly accomplished in its sound, with many ideas not quite working with each over like one or two ideas could; whilst Cedric’s vocals aren’t at their best. This is shown throughout the album as none of the melodies touch any on Relationship of Command – although there are a few great songs on the record — Proxima Centauri to name one in particular. But what can you expect? That album is a masterpiece. Vaya is good. It was before they got properly awesome.