If the phrase "Quality not Quantity" is anything to go by, you’re in luck. The well-awaited-for second release, Pedals, has finally been released after ten years in waiting by Rival Schools, collective of hardcore legends, following up the cult United By Fate 2001 release. Pedals manages to pack a hard punch with intense emotional gravity, much like its predecessor. However, comparatively, the albums are not totally indifferent on multiple levels.
It has all the signature Rival Schools features and clear parallels can be made between both United By Fate and Pedals – the gooey heart wrenching melancholy ballad and fan favourite, "Undercovers On"/"Small Doses", the tunes that rip through out and bring out that teenage angst, "Used for Glue"/"Shot After Shot", but if it works, it works – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
It’s clear to see that Rival Schools cracked the winning formula the first time ‘round, and this has been recognized by the band and fans alike. Even in the sheer detail of the album, reflects the individual signature style of each member of the band, such as the rhythmic drumming style of Sammy Siegler, which can be seen in United By Fate’s "Good Things" and Pedals‘s " Big Waves", the pedal laden playfulness of Ian Love, the driving, heavy bass lines of Cache Tolman, and of course, the lyrical genius of Walter Schreifels (QRO solo tour review). However, in the bands ten-year hiatus, they have come a long way, through various personal and musical pursuits, as life often brings. Whilst United By Fate offers tales of heartbreak and personal relationships, Pedals continues with this theme, yet expanding on ideas of community, gentrification and isolation.
What Pedals represents is Rival Schools growing up, becoming more collected as a band. This can even be seen in the cleaner, more polished sound to the tracks. However, with the lack of the more prominent grunge influence, Pedals does lose the immediacy of its predecessor. It does, however, deserve the time of day for one to dissect and digest the songs to appreciate them in their glory as an outstanding album in its own right, without comparison.
MP3 Stream: "Small Doses"