Rival Schools – Pedals

Release Date: March 8, 2011
Reviewed by Chris Johnston

10 years in the making. I can’t even begin to fathom how much fans of Rival Schools have been chomping at the bit for this album since the band’s debut “United By Fate” first hit shelves. Led by former Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits frontman, Walter Schreifels, Rival Schools is a bit of a supergroup. Now I’m not saying that members of Rival Schools are as well known as some other “supergroups” such as the recently incepted The Damned Things, but for any aficionado of New York post-hardcore, Rival Schools is a musical wet dream. The music on Pedals, being the most important thing, is actually not all that different from the decade-old United By Fate. It’s got a big ‘90s feel to it, as it should considering the members of the group all played in bands who’s hay-days were most prevelant in that era. It’s raw and engaging, giving the listener a solid album to listen to from beginning to end.  But the most impressive aspect of Pedals is its desire to please current fans, rather than gain new ones by experimenting and dipping into some different styles. The production value of the record is fabulous. It’s almost like they sat down and tracked the whole record in one take. There’s no overproduction and no goofy samples that just don’t belong (something that’s unfortunately all too overdone nowadays).  And this is most apparent on the second track, “69 Guns.” You’ll feel like you’re actually watching them live. There’s still that driving, distorted, crunch-toned guitar that fans are so familiar with (“Eyes Wide Open,” “Big Waves”), but possibly the most impressive track on the disc is the borderline-ballad “Racing To Red Lights.” This is the point where you’ll realize Rival Schools isn’t just churning out another record so people will stop complaining about them breaking up. This is where they remind you that they know what they’re doing. If you’ve never listened to Rival Schools, now is a great time to get into them.



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