Album Review: Rival Schools - Pedals

on Sunday, March 13, 2011
Words: Simon Opie // Rival Schools - 'Pedals' (UK Release: 7 March '11)

I'll come clean - Rival Schools' guitarist Ian Love stayed at my house back in the day, with the rest of his band called Cardia (sadly neglected and surely a buried treasure). That was back when Rival Schools had flared brightly and burnt out faster than a cheap roman candle, with just their debut album, 2001's 'United By Fate' to show for it.

I must also admit that I really did like Rival Schools and I have the T-shirt - now a size smaller than I remembered - to prove it. So it's a relief to be able to say that this belated comeback, sophomore album is a pretty good effort and true to the music that made them so compelling the first time round.

Walter Schreifels is a fine vocalist and energetic frontman, Ian Love is a terrific guitarist, the drumming by Sam Siegler is really propulsive and the standout song is probably 'Shot After Shot' which has an air of Queens Of The Stone Age about it. In fact most of the songs are pretty robust and even the "bonus" tracks - particularly 'Paranoid Detectives' - are welcome additions.

How much you like the album depends therefore on whether you still think this is a worthwhile musical form to be exploring. Rock of course will never die but Post-Hardcore Rock has not the same guarantee. If I compare 'Pedals' with the excellent Far comeback album - last year's 'At Night We Live' - then its not up to that level mainly because it lacks a real killer song or two. But it is well done and exudes passion and professionalism - plus there's several catchy tunes.

That's not to damn with faint praise but to say 'Pedals' is a grower for sure and if you didn't like them in their first incarnation then you probably won't change your opinion about Rival Schools listening to this. Nonetheless, if like me you leapt around dementedly to 'Used For Glue', it's really good to have them back and hopefully they'll stick around a bit longer this time.


Purchase 'Pedals' at iTunes, Amazon etc.

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