They Walk In Line – Medical
by Zane Ewton
Los Angeles rockers They Walk in Line has
spent the last few years making a name for themselves by touring through
the southwest U.S. and have released two warmly received EP’s.
Medical Necessities is the first
full-length release from the band; their website describes the album as
“sonically reminiscent” of bands like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.
By “sonically” they mean, “these are good bands to be compared to right
now.” Medical Necessities is a far more uncomplicated rock
album, with just hints of the alternative stuff.
What you do get is an album full of very
well-built, appealing songs. On first listen, vocalist Michael Romero
sounds “sonically reminiscent” of Elvis Costello. Romero’s vocals
are understated and blend well with the rest of the band. Romero
also plays guitar alongside Kevin Kolpien and the duo weave melody lines
They Walk in Line is a band that, despite
their influences, sound remarkably low-key and pretty. The main strength
lies in the structured songs and all told, this album is comprised of 11
"Revenge” introduces the record and lays
the groundwork for all that follows. Themes of illness and medicine
abound throughout the album. The tracks float like the state of consciousness
when you have taken a pill to sleep, some imagery that lends itself through
the vocals. The combination of ringing guitar melody and driving
rhythm propel “Heat Attack at 5 A.M.” along until the hushed end.
“XY Chromosome.” is rougher around the
edges, a pleading unrequited love song, with a menacing stalker vibe to
it. They Walk in Line have a bit of the Joy Division streak in them,
which is evident on many of the songs including “Mirrors Reflect the Weakness”.
Thankfully the band is able to branch out with “Sonic Tremble’, another
gloomy song, but the acoustic guitar work is well done and adds another
At the halfway point of an album a band
can start losing steam, usually loading the front end with the stronger
material. But Medical Necessities chugs along steadily with “Slightly
Fallen”, the title track and a surprisingly cheery “All the Angels”.
The album ends much like it begins, the track listing not devised for emotional
highs and lows but more for a steady flow of reliable songs.
The production value of Medical Necessities
is professional and appealing but the band may have bee served better through
a rougher mix. As it is now, the album fades into the background
of similar bands. It is exciting to hear a band that is this good
after only a few years. The fact that they can improve upon this
album means great things for this band.
Walk In Line – Medical Necessities
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