Rival Schools: Pedals

Rival Schools: Pedals
I was a senior in high school when Rival Schools‘ debut album, United by Fate was released. Being a teen that was in love with emo and post-hardcore band like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday, Rival Schools seemed right up my alley.
It was not until college that I realized what a cool band Rival Schools really was. Lead singer, Walter Schreifels was a member of such influential bands as Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, and Quicksand and drummer, Sam Siegler had been in the band CIV. All of which I was not acquainted with when I was first introduced to Rival Schools. While my love of other emo bands have faded over the years, I have still enjoyed Rival Schools consistently.
Perhaps that is why I was so excited to find out that nearly a full decade since their debut album, the band was reformed and releasing a follow up record, Pedals. But I questioned that if after so much time apart if the band could capture the same magic that made their debut one of my favorite albums of my high school years.
The truth is that Rival Schools really have not lost a step. Opening track and lead single, “Wring It Out” has all the anthematic signatures that made “Travel By Telephone” the perfect opener for United By Fate. The track features complex lead guitar work by Ian Love but the real hallmark that makes the track successful is the arena-sized chorus with its wall-of-guitar sound and Schreifels’ strained vocals.
While the album has its fair share of anthems, it features some of the slow stuff as well. “Small Doses” feels like something that may have been more at home on Walter Schreifels’ solo debut album. The mostly acoustic ballad feels like this album’s “Undercovers On”, the most popular ballad from United By Fate.
In the end, Pedals is a fairly successful sequel. Most band’s who do not change their sound over a ten year span are doomed to sound passe but Schreifels’ songwriting is so timeless and the band’s execution is so technically proficient that not changing might have been the best thing Rival Schools could have done.
Rating: 8.7/10
MP3: Rival Schools “Small Doses”
Buy: iTunes or Amazon

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