Release Date: Mar 8, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Emo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Hardcore
In a slightly better world (for music, anyway), I wouldn’t have to tell most of you who Rival Schools are. Pedals would be as hotly anticipated and warmly received as Superchunk’s recent return to activity, Majesty Shredding, was, if not more so. Because while that was Superchunk’s ninth album, this is only the second one that Rival Schools have produced.
Things are always changing. Whether it’s realizing that the small town you came from now has a Starbucks and a mess of big-box retailers, or just getting a new haircut, the world is in flux in a million tiny ways. One has to imagine, then, that when Rival Schools returned to the post-hardcore landscape a decade after they had left it, they found it a very different place than the one they left behind.
10 years on and the band are just as inspired musically. It’s been 10 years since posthardcore heroes Rival Schools’ seminal debut ‘United by Fate’ was released, but any fears of being letdown by the long (and we mean long!) awaited follow-up ‘Pedals’ are instantly evaporated by ‘Wring it Out’. A stunning opener to the album, its dynamic range, gleaming melody and driving anthemic nature exemplify what this band was always all about.
Almost 10 years on from their cult masterwork [b]‘United By Fate’[/b], [a]Rival Schools[/a] have finally returned from an inexplicably long hiatus to demonstrate why they’re such luminaries for today’s post-hardcore hordes. At the very least, [b]‘Pedals’[/b] proves that frontman [b]Walter Schreifels[/b] has retained his ear for a good tune; the likes of [b]‘Eyes Wide Open’[/b] and the much gentler [b]‘Racing To Red Lights’[/b] boast the sort of shimmering choruses that remind you why these New Yorkers once seemed destined to lead the hoodie-clad invasion of the mainstream. But you can’t help but feel that [b]‘Pedals’[/b] would be more of a big deal if it was still 2003.
Nostalgia is a strange and seductive thing. I swore I would never be affected by its obfuscating rose tint but have recently found myself becoming shamefully tearful watching grainy clips of Seventies football, more touched than I should be by the naïve brilliance of Eighties synthpop. Oddly I wasn't actually alive for those things, and I'm certainly some way from feeling wistful for ten years ago, so the return of Rival Schools fails to tug at my pathetic heartstrings.
Walter Schreifels knows a thing or two about post-hardcore music. With time spent in Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, Schreifels went on to found Quicksand. But one of his more recent, and by extension interesting, side projects is the supergroup known as Rival Schools. Founded in 2001, not to mention comprised of members of the aforementioned bands along with Iceburn, CIV, and Glassjaw, the group dropped an album and more or less parted ways from 2003 to 2008.
A worth-the-wait second LP a decade after the New Yorkers’ celebrated debut. Chris Beanland 2011 They were dubbed the "next Nirvana" by one over-enthusiastic American rock scribe in 2001. But despite the gushing "We love you man!"s from some quarters, it's taken Rival Schools 10 years to dish up a sequel to their great debut. In the modern era, whole empires can rise and fall in that amount of time.