Rival Schools


Written by: PP on 14/10/2013 22:23:50

Two years ago, post-hardcore supergroup Rival Schools returned from a lengthy hiatus to release album "Pedals" to critical acclaim, which is to be expected from a group featuring members of Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, CIV, Youth of Today, and Iceburn. It was only their second album in ten years, having released the genre classic "United By Fate" in 2001 and disbanding shortly after a master tape of their would-be sophomore album leaked before the band had a chance to finish it. This is what "Found" is - and not their actual third album. It is a remastered, vinyl-only release of the leaked tracks of the album that never saw official daylight before being released earlier this year.

Basically, not much has changed for Rival Schools whether you look at it from the debut album or "Pedals" from a decade later, except their sound originated from a slightly more harder-edged direction than the occasionally anthemic moments of "Pedals" from two years ago. If you're not familiar with their sound, then expect a late 90s style, original post-hardcore sound (before emo twisted and turned the genre into something else), with rough, scratchy vocal work and a focus on unconventional instrumentation. The hooks are quirky, the riffs dirty and of subtle composition, yet the scratchy croons of Walter Schreifels have the ability of transforming many songs into catchy, almost anthemic pieces, as both "Reaching Out" and "On The Fray" so well demonstrate. Despite staying away from distinctly pop elements and going for a more challenging sound, repeat listens reveal the songs (and indeed the album) to be quite a grower. At first many melodies seem bland and devoid of personality, but it is precisely the apathetic manner the vocals are delivered with that makes the melodic parts all the more awesome. Still, there's room for more aggressive material like "Indisposable Heroes" which brings the hardcore into post-hardcore, although as a whole the album definitely leans towards a platform that's rather based in alternative rock and only dips into hardcore on occasion. This is probably a deliberate evolution as the band members were trying to distance themselves from the hardcore scene that they were a part of in their previous bands.

But as a result of the heavier edge, "Found" isn't as catchy as "Pedals" was two years ago. Still, it's an album that rewards the patient listener by revealing subtly catchy growers that remind us why "Used For Glue" was such a big hit 12 years ago. The songwriting is retrospective and somewhat dated for the 2013 environment (due to these songs having been written almost a decade ago), but if you're longing for a nostalgia-driven look at how post-hardcore sounded like in its early incarnation, "Found" is the reminder you've been looking for. And for a Rival Schools fan, this is finally a chance to hear how those long-lost tracks were meant to sound like in full production.

Download: Reaching Out, On The Fray, Big Waves, Tell It All To me
For the fans of: Quicksand, Guano Apes, Far, Jawbox, Hum
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.04.2013
United By Fate

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