I’ve been thinking about doing a top ten albums of the noughties type arrangement all year, but I wanted to make sure I was clear of everyone else’s so someone might bother reading it. Now, this is a difficult undertaking for me really, mainly because my memory is a bit fruity and I’m more likely to remember stuff from the last 5 years than I am from the previous five. What I’ve done to counter that is to pick my favourite from each year, starting in 2000.
There were several candidates for this, Coldplay’s Parachutes, a masterpiece that they never got close to revisiting; Since I Left You by the Avalanches, so mentally eclectic (I cringe at that music cliché) it still puts a smile on my face; Radiohead’s Kid A, a jaw-dropping Warp records-esque departure from OK Computer; XTRMNTR by Primal Scream, they went all industrial on my ass; Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication; Bloodhound Gang – Hooray for Boobies (hey, I thought it was good); Incubus – Make Yourself; Deftones – White Pony; Rage Against the Machine – Battle of Los Angeles.
The one I’m picking though for 2000 stood out by miles. In a time before the term ’emo’ had been stolen by whiney tattoed 19 year-olds with over-compressed, Pro-Tools compensated drums, At the Drive-In pretty much defined the style ’emotional hardcore’. In September of 2000 they released ‘Relationship of Command’, and for me at least, it was jaw-dropping. Starting with ‘Arcarsenal’ we have a dark and percussion led intro and then just before a minute is over, sprawling guitar riffs in jazz scales, loud syncopated drum patterns and the untamed yet strangely melodic screaming of Cedric Bixler. The album carries on as it starts, loud, emotional, tense, sprawling, twisting, angst-ridden and wonderful. Indecipherable lyrics of mostly unfathomable subjects and guitar riffs that probably shouldn’t work from Omar Rodriguez and Jim Ward, it’s a challenge to your mood at every corner.
At the Drive-In
Relationship of Command
I urge you to listen to this album, even if you aren’t into that sort of thing. Just listen to it and admire the well crafted chaos. Here’s one of the finest tracks from one of the finest bands of the century so far, One Armed Scissor: