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They Walk In Line – Medical Necessities
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 fantastically.

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 moving tracks.

"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 dimension.

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.

They Walk In Line – Medical Necessities
Label: Sixthman
Heart Attack At 5 AM
XY Chromosome
Mirrors Reflect The Weakness
Sonic Tremble
Slightly Fallen
Medical Necessities
All Of The Angels
Could I HAve A Feeling So Warm
Miles Of Failure
All Mine
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