Rival Schools
Pedals


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jeremy Aaron USER (12 Reviews)
March 18th, 2011 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pedals is a winning return, though perhaps not entirely worth the wait.

When an album presents such a perfect marriage of melody and force as Rival Schools' United by Fate, it's easy to eagerly anticipate the follow-up. The years since Fate’s 2001 release have whizzed by, and aside from some talk of reuniting a few years back, we’ve gotten nothing new from the band. Clichéd conventional wisdom dictates that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but Walter Schreifels and friends have surely overplayed their hand; a decade is a long time to keep people waiting. I’d imagine many kids weaned on late-‘90s and early-‘00s post-hardcore aren’t following the life-and-times of aging punk bands anymore-- though there are obviously a few of us nerds still out there-- and it’s a good bet that they’re largely unknown amongst the new batch of scene kids. So the circumstances surrounding the release of Rival Schools’ new disc Pedals don’t offer a whole lot of promise for it’s success. Which is kind of a shame, because it is undoubtedly a worthwhile effort that doesn’t deserve to be pushed aside dismissively.

Without question, one would expect some degree of softening to have occurred over the last ten years. After all, these guys weren’t kids in 2001, either; Schreifels played in Gorilla Biscuits in the ‘80s. To a degree, that’s exactly what happened, as Pedals doesn’t have any moments that quite equal United by Fate’s heaviest, though there’s some definite guitar crunch behind tracks like the opener “Wring It Out” and “Eyes Wide Open”. The slower fare is certainly more prominent, though, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Racing to Red Lights” is a gem that’s simultaneously jangly (the verses) and drop-D grungy (the choruses), the type of ballad that’s perfect mixtape fodder. Some purists might scoff and claim that it would fit right in with Dishwalla and Tonic on Buzz Ballads. They wouldn’t be far off, but it seems that whatever Schreifels-- whose voice hasn’t changed a bit during the time off-- is offering up can’t help but come off as genuine, even when it’s occasionally semi-cloying (“Love doesn’t know anything, only believes when it believes,” he sings on “Shot After Shot”). Regardless, we weren’t expecting Colin Meloy’s witty lyricism, but simply a musical and melodic tour de force-- and by and large, that’s exactly what we got.

“Most Anticipated”-type albums are a tricky business. I’ve come to be particularly leery of new releases by favorite artists; they never seem to live up to their predecessors, no matter how open-minded I try to approach them. Pedals, however, is overwhelmingly successful at toning down United by Fate’s aggression just a notch while still remaining unmistakably a Rival Schools album. It’s the type of comeback that won’t completely alienate longtime fans, while being easily accessible to new listeners. There will surely be those who really want to hate Pedals, and they won’t have any difficulty finding justification for their scorn within the album’s ten tracks. Nonetheless, it’s a winning return, though perhaps not entirely worth the wait.



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user ratings (57)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Kyle Robinson (3.5)
Relax and enjoy the ride. Rival Schools still have it....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2011


7334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, I didn't think much of this, though.

accompliceofmydeath
March 18th 2011


4214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I agree on pretty much every point you make.

Only correction I have is the Schriefels played guitar in GB, he wasn't the frontman.

Digging: The Swarm - Parasitic Skies

zen5729
March 18th 2011


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Duly noted, accomplice.

accompliceofmydeath
March 18th 2011


4214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem, dude. Glad to see another Walter fan on the site.

Inveigh
March 18th 2011


24963 Comments


I really like United By Fate, will have to check this out

good review

ConsiderPhlebas
March 18th 2011


6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, great band. Cool review, too.

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17927 Comments


Can't wait to hear this.

SteelErectedb4you8er
March 19th 2011


2616 Comments


Ah yes, I can see where you are going with this review. I will have to check it out because I loved United By Fate and it has been a while.

tkxxx7
March 29th 2011


6153 Comments


not bad but not all that great either

osmark86
February 26th 2013


4066 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys are great. should get more recognition. one of few bands that manage to sound familliar and unique at the same time.

Digging: Schammasch - Contradiction



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