Review: Rosefield Rivals – Rosefield Rivals

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The other day I got bored and started perusing Bandcamp, and I noticed they had tags for specific locations, cities, states, etc. So you can just click on Des Moines, and everything tagged Des Moines pops up ( See, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Also, this should keep you busy for a while). For some reason, it never occurred to me that the site had that option even though it is really easy to do that. I guess I don’t fuck around with tags, so why would anyone else, right? Well, as I was thumbing through the pages, I saw this album and figured I’d better give it a listen.

Rosefield Rivals is a name that I have heard for a long time. Yet, I had never really gotten a chance to listen to them because by the mid 2000’s they had all moved on to other things. So, with a digital chance to rectify a mistake, I’d better give it a chance.

It certainly feels like an album that came out in the early/mid 2000’s. It is power/punk/pop with a nod to a lot of bands that were popular at that time. While it reminds me of that particular time in our lives where Sum-41, My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 were dominating TRL, it doesn’t feel like a relic. Some of the genre’s peers tend to feel dated and eye-rolling, Rivals never really hit that point with me.

I think the key is the guitar work. Rivals hits hard very, very often. The guitar riffs are more akin to a pop metal act than a pop punk especially in “The Romance”. Musically, they are probably closer to Bad Religion than Simple Plan or Yellowcard. There is some real talent mixed up in the six songs and it shines quite often.

I think a lot of people (myself included) are willing to overlook stuff we feel is more indicative of the times. While going back to re-listen to things we once liked, often we get sucked up in the whole “ironic nostalgia” portion where no one wants to admit that they actually liked something. Instead, joking like an I Love The 90’s panelist and then making a dismissive wanking motion. Or some simply just won’t admit they liked something because it used to be popular, and now it isn’t as much. Call it the Hootie and the Blowfish problem, where they sold like ten million records, but no one will admit to buying one or ever liking them, which is silly. We all liked Hootie and the Blowfish, we should just admit it.

Now that we are far enough removed from the pop-punk mainstream scene, there is starting to be that same backlash. Poor Fall Out Boy and Sum 41 are almost more a punchline than they are a best-selling pop band at this point. The amount of albums they sold would suggest that at some point, somebody liked them. But if you really go back and look at the pop-punk genre, there are still some gems mixed in. Blink-182 had two albums I thought were legitimately great (Dude Ranch and Enema of the State). So did My Chemical Romance (Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and Black Parade). AFI’s Sing the Sorrow is still incredible. I will defend it to the death. And of course, Say Anything’s In Defense of the Genre still holds up really well. With clear eyes, a lot of this stuff gets overlooked and lumped into a time capsule and not revered as just really good albums.

While it is an album that is reflective of the times, it doesn’t ever feel dated, and I think that is a testament to the musicians and the talent involved. This one will probably be lumped into that time capsule for a lot of people, but I liked it. I’m not sure if this particular outfit would’ve had an audience as large in 2012, so it is probably good that they are all trying new things. But they should all be proud of what they accomplished. If you want to give it a listen,

1 Comment

  1. I still like Hootie and the Blowfish. I am unashamed.


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