They may well be remembered for much more raucous, nihilistic things: the flailing limbs, large hair and battered venues; the torch-bearing of palatable hardcore; the re-emergence of well-read rock, straight-edged before it became just another badge on your rucksack, the band once declaring that “the most punk-rock kids are the ones with books in their hands”; and, of course, this generation’s where-were-you-when-you-saw music TV moment in front of a slightly taken-aback Later… audience. However, Invalid Litter Dept. shines out of the centre of Relationship of Command for a reason. It’s not difficult to accept that their sand-beaten white-hot ferocity may generally not have been matched since. But when their weighty alt.rock dissipated, leaving room for plaintive piano and taut atmospherics, as well as giving Cedric’s lyrics – later to arguably become a parody of themselves – chance to weave morbidly caustic imagery, the band sounded angrier than ever. And no wonder, considering the song exists to rail against the murders of female factory workers in the band’s Mexican hometown, crimes largely ignored by the police. Incidentally, that the intensity created here is a prototype for the sort Mars Volta would later infuse with prog perhaps proves why they would always be better than Sparta.
[Album: Relationship Of Command]