Rival Schools – Pedals (Atlantic) 07/03/2011

March 27, 2011 by  

Not ones for rushing out a record; this is the first release from the New York group since 2001’s United By Fate and their dissolution two years later. Now reformed, and back with original members, comprising of a who’s who of the 80’s/90’s NY hardcore scene with members rounded up from such bands as Gorilla Biscuits, CIV and Youth of Today.

With this decade long gap between releases, a rather large wave of anticipation has built up around Pedals, that is likely to come from a band who’s previous release is considered a bit of a cult favourite among many, not least myself.

So after a long ten year wait, is Pedals as good as we hoped? Well, sadly it’s not, and compared with their debut, it falls rather short. That’s not to say it’s a bad record. The album still boasts some great tracks in dynamic single and album opener ‘Wring it Out’ with its heavy emphatic chorus, and live highlights ’69 Guns’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ both standout with their catchy choruses, of which the album has plenty to go around. Though standout track of the album has to go to the more downtempo of ‘A Parts For B Actors,’ with it’s opening 30-second interlude before kicking in with Walter Schreifels vocals at their most earnest over the groups jangly guitars.

The problem with Pedals though, is that with such a highly lauded debut, a follow up was bound to be a critical disappointment if it didn’t manage to match up to its predecessor. Plus the long wait between releases has not helped the bands cause, a wait in which the musical landscape has changed a great deal, the waves of hardcore bands that followed in the wake of ‘United By Fate’ have been and gone, and post-hardcore bands are no longer in vogue.

Even the albums highlights still feel as if they wouldn’t be amiss as ‘United by Fate’ era b-sides, though they just seem to be lacking that extra bite that made their debut so special.

[rating:3]


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