Wednesday 23 September 2009

Cross Blogination #2 Rival School - United by Fate

So this week I got to choose one of my favourite albums for Paul (formulaic666) and I to review. As a band, Rival Schools burnt brightly for one album then disbanded and a much muted second album never materialised in the shops. They have recently reformed and been touring, it'll be interesting to see if they capture the magic of their d├ębut from 2001.

I got into United by Fate off the back of one track. MTV2, was back then, a half decent music channel and they had the song Used for Glue on pretty light rotation but when ever I heard it I got grabbed by the balls.

It is my favourite riff of all time and in my top three songs ever. That's a pretty big shout from me but there it is. It's fierce as hell and rather like the Manics' James Dean Bradfield, lead singer Walter Schreifels often struggles to keep up with the demands of the song but it's better for it. I knew I would have to get the album.

Does the album live up to Used for Glue? How could it? Arguably though Used for Glue is not a true reflection of what was to come. It's Emo before there was Emo and to be honest it's Emo at its peak before the likes of Fall Out Boy took the concept and ran with it... unfortunately not over the nearest cliff.

There's bite to United by Fate, certainly on a first listen you might struggle to see why I love it so much.

'Travel by Telephone' is a potent opener, great riff, great melody great words. Quiet loud. So my thing. There are plenty of quieter moments on the album but the second song, 'Everything Has It's Point' highlights Schreifels' voice coping perfectly with the quieter moments and then straining with the chorus. Awesome stuff. Again it's a great riff too.

I could go through every track telling you how wonderful I think the songs are. It's an album of a moment for me. I had split up with me ex wife maybe a month before I bought it and it cheered me up no end. Not because it's a cheery album, 'Undercovers On' is a pretty dark and pretty poignant song, but it was just such a powerful statement to buy an album off of the back of one song. It meant I was taking risks again and not worrying about the big TV and the washing machine. And boy did I uncover a gem of an album. It has no theme, no huge desire to change the world, its just four guys playing great tunes and making fantastic music. Ian Love's guitar playing cements it throughout. Whether thumping a riff into your chest or bringing a tune like 'Good Things' to life there's a restraint and a weird beauty to the power chords.

It isn't overly heavy, although 'Used for Glue' would have left you thinking that it might be, it's a just a terrific album loaded with great songs. If you've never heard it go get it now. I'm gonna be as intrigued as you are to see what Paul thinks of it.


Go here, I can't embed it, turn it up real loud and listen to Used for Glue.
Then go here and see what Paul thought: Blog on the Motorway.

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