It is the sad truth, but the truth none the less, that 2011 has thus far been fairly uninspiring for new releases. There are a number of great bands in the making but I have purchased very little that has really excited me in the way music can.
There are a couple of exceptions to this however, one of them being the new Foo Fighters record (expertly reviewed by Kev on this very site) and then there is the sophomore effort from Rival Schools.
With the first album ‘United By Fate’ coming out the best part of a decade ago, the anticipation of a follow up had dwindled over the years and ‘Pedals’ was released with little fanfare. This is what leads me to be talking about it now, over a month after its release, as it is a missed gem.
At the turn of the millennium when Walter Schreifels led his new band in to a new century, Rock was king and Rival Schools appeared natural heirs to the throne but time has seen the dawn of a new world and 2011 does not offer the same welcome.
This I feel however is 2011’s loss. ‘Pedals’ is a fantastic album, boasting any number of what us 2001 folk would have called ‘rock anthems’.
Kicking things off is ‘Wring It Out’ perfectly demonstrating the apparent ease with which the band can write a classic rock song. The anthemic chorus juxtaposed against Schreifels self-doubting lyrics ‘I want to wring it out, every ounce, I want to do the right thing, when the right thing counts’. The impact of the song is not felt instantly but once you have heard the song, it is only a matter of time before it becomes lodged in your psyche.
This is no one off either, the album is littered with the dynamic, riff laden rockers like first single ‘Shot After Shot’ or the towering ‘Eyes Wide Open’ nestled alongside more restrained, but equally as powerful ‘pop’ songs like the emotive ‘Racing To Red Lights’.
The worst the album has to offer is the slightly pedestrian ‘A Parts For B Actors’ but the shimmering chorus still prevents it from being bland.
There are those that still perpetuate the myth that rock is all but pushing up the daisies these days, well with the likes of Foo Fighters and Rival Schools still producing albums of this quality, as Mark Twain said ‘Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated’.
Check out the video for ‘Wring It Out’ on our ‘News’ page.