‘Pedals’ is an album I’ve waited a third of my life for. It’s a ghost, a reflection of my teenage self and one that comes with baggage (some emotional), pre-conception and anticipation, expectation and – most importantly – justification. After all the time and conjecture, Rival Schools are as instantly recognisable as ever, comforting in their post-punk embrace, reassuring in Walter Schreifels’ stretched, imploring voice. Opener ‘Wring It Out’ feels like an open letter; a purging of things past as a supplicant Walter sings, “I want to do the right thing/when the right thing counts”, and from this opening salvo ‘Pedals’ re-introduces the contemporary Rival Schools.

Unashamedly appealing and radio friendly, tracks like ‘Big Waves’ and ‘A Part’ are as vibrant and anthemic as ever, but the angst and energy of ‘Shot After Shot’, ‘Choose Your Adventure’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ inject a familiar emotional grind and give ‘Pedals’ a vital balance. Turns out good things were coming our way after all. We just had to wait a while.

By Reef Younis

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