Rival Schools – Pedals

2011 is the year of the reunion. Well, at least the reunion albums. Overcome’s was great and the Get Up Kids’ was… disappointing. The problem with bands reforming and releasing new music is I want it to sound like their old music.

Rival Schools have returned with Pedals, their second full-length and the long awaited follow up to 2001’s United by Fate. And Rival Schools have gotten better. It’s classic emocore. I haven’t listened to United by Fate in many years but Pedals has a classic sound that trumps United by Fate.

From the first dischordant notes on Wring it Out, I’m instantly taken back to the mid-90’s. Everything from the guitar riffs, the slightly off-timing of each song, and Walter Schreifels’ vocals, all harken back to a different era in music. I get lost listening to Pedals and I find myself unaware that this is actually a new album.

From top to bottom Pedals is a great record and it’s the best record I’ve heard this year. It brings back enough nostalgia for me to be absolutely in love with it and older music fans will also probably fall in love with Pedals.

The album does have some minor flaws. A couple of the songs don’t pop (Racing to Red Lights, Shot After Shot) and so they come across as filler tracks. Good songs, but compared to 69 Guns or A Parts for B Actors, they don’t catch my attention the same way. The album doesn’t end on the strongest note either. The Ghost is Out There is a solid song but the guitar solo loses me.

Overall Pedals is a strong does of nostalic rock and roll for my soul and it’s a killer album.


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