Rival Schools - United By Fate

If you recently went to see A on tour chances are you'll have seen support band Rival Schools who are signed to Mercury Records over here in the UK. Their album "United By Fate" has been critically acclaimed by the likes of NME, Kerrang, Q, Rock Sound and the Times and features their single "Used For Glue". Why so many reputable publications have gone out of their way to heap praise on the album is a mystery to me. It's typical angst ridden, navel gazingly dull rock from yet another misunderstood American band. The vocals are gravely and while their music is competent it's hardly ground breaking material. It chugs along in a highly worthy earnest manner, but is an effort rather than a pleasure to listen to.

Rivals Schools so want to be taken seriously and owe a huge debt to Nirvana. "World International" is a tiresome exercise in self doubt with the refrain of "no one cares at all" and after hearing the song you begin to understand why. "The Switch" is a minor improvement and a bit livelier than the other tracks featured. Walter S is responsible for the lyrics and while they're obviously personal and written from experience they do tend to veer clichés if unintentionally, while Luke Ebbin's production is pedestrian and workman like. There's very little on "United By Fate" to get passionate about and it does drag despite its brief forty five minutes running time.

An average album from an average band who lack ideas and innovation and while the odd track is memorable enough there isn't enough to mark them out with the rest of the seemingly endless array of rock bands cluttering up the music scene.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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