Anthology, This Station is Non-Operational
Available nowFearless Records
As Jack Black’s character discusses Stevie Wonder in High Fidelity, he poses the ultimate question in stardom, “Is it better to burn out or fade away?
In 2001, shortly after At the Drive In poked their heads out from the underground, El Paso’s finest emo quintet went on indefinite hiatus to bear the fraternal twin bands Sparta and the Mars Volta. Yes, just as their breakthrough album Relationship of Command undoubtedly commanded the undivided attention of new and old fans alike, ATDI opted to fade out.
Lucky for fans with voids left unfilled by the new bands, Anthology, This Station is Non-Operational is here to provide some closure. For new listeners, this is a great opportunity to experience the wide scope of the band’s seven-year history. This is not just your average greatest hits album; this is a chronological journey through the band’s many moods. Earlier tracks taken from In/Casino/Out provide Anthology’s platform, with sensitive, yet striking vocals against dual eager guitars. ‘Metronome Arthritis’ brooding guitars and spacey awareness is a great segway to a few hand picked tunes from the masterful Relationship of Command. And if you’ve already got all there is to have, the b-sides, re-mixes, and rare recordings are enough to rekindle the old flame.
Both cover tracks toward the end of the disc pay sincere homage to their originators while providing insight to ATDI’s complexity. Pink Floyd’s psyche sendoff ‘Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk’, stretches the band’s parameters and points the listener spaceward, toward the receiving arms of the Mars Volta. While the ex-members of At the Drive In may have drifted into uncharted territory, they thoughtfully left behind a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow. For this we should be thankful.