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Rydell

England's early emo-hardcore mainstays (before emo took its turn to convolution), Rydell was a force to be reckoned with across the land. Traveling the UK, Euro and back again, these tour dogs gigged in the vicinity of 800 shows alongside bands you've loved during their day, just to perform their passionate, gritty, gutsy, charming anthems for anyone who'd listen.

With passionate lyrics sung and screamed over music that can be both melodic, mellow and damn powerful all at once, the band have been compared with hardcore luminaries from Hot Water Music to Chamberlain, from the Get Up Kids to Joan Of Arc, but still they come back with their own expressive, definitive sound and original blend of what they feel hardcore should be. As ever with Rydell, their songs are delivered with passion and whatever they explore, emotive and energetic music is the mainstay on their boldly worn sleeves.

Rydell was:

Miles Booker: Vocals
David Gamage: Guitar, backing vocals

Mark Wilkinson: Guitar

Adam French: Bass

Duncan Morris: Drums

Find more on Rydell:

Contact: david@rydell.co.uk

Releases

Reviews


Punk News, 4/5 – Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 

Rydell have always been a band that had to work hard for the good reputation they've gained these days. The five British guys toured their asses off, released split CDs with many bands, including a quite popular Gainesville band, but somehow Rydell never seemed to get the recognition they deserved. They definitely play honest music, with honest melodies and honest lyrics. They've been part of the scene for a long time now and there's definitely no reason to question the band’s integrity.


‘Hard On The Trail’ is the new release of these five musicians. The singer knows how to express the mood of the songs with his well-known voice. What’s typical, at least on every Rydell release, is the particular sadness and melancholy in the songs, although they can be quite punky on the one hand and yet quite catchy pop-like on the other. The guitars are distorted in certain parts but clean and full of harmony in other parts. Rydell also play fantastic pop-parts, a trademark of this band. One can read ‘always stay true’ in the credits and I know that the band itself has always been the best example in realising that. With ‘Hard On The Trail’ Rydell play the music they always did and do what they were always best at.

It's quite understandable that Rydell are called the British Hot Water Music. ‘Hard On The Trail’ does not kick in directly after the first listening. One first has to cope with some quite tricky rhythms and unexpected and surprising melodies. But after doing this Rydell are a man's best friend and songs like ‘Awkward Times’, ‘Born Witness’ and ‘Analysis Of The Evidence’ become so familiar it's clear that they have the potential to become personal top-hits. ‘Hard On The Trail’ contains eleven songs, which are an ideal fix for every Hot Water Music and Samiam nerd. Song no. 11 is the cover ‘Boys Of Summer’ we already know from bands like The Ataris, but Rydell’s version is better by far. It shows the courage of these musicians too as Rydell did not try to make it sound original or too catchy but more in the style of their own rocking band.

As it seems this band will always be England’s un-crowned kings of the melodic hardcore genre. To the people out there wanting to listen to honest, passionate music with lots of energy, I can say Rydell are the perfect deal. ‘Hard On The Trail’ is definitely one of the most important indie records so far in 2004.    
-Dennis Grenzel


Room Thirteen, 8/10 - Deservedly ‘Hard on the trail’ of success.

Rydell are here with their third full-length album and, for once, it opens with a style of punk that I actually scarily enjoy. The 11 tracks here are all packed with the tuneful-Sex-Pistols-yelp of Miles Booker, which aggressively, yet emotively, dances around the dual guitar-work fueled melodies inherent in every song.

Considering the lyrics of the songs, Rydell seem to rely on a small amount of words, coupled with a lot of repetition. For instance, ‘Darkness Before Home’, whilst lasting over three minutes, only has 8 lines to its name, and repeats them all at least three times. Not that this is bad - I've never been much of a lyrics listener anyway, but judge for yourself.

The drumming in most of the songs provides a thought-provoking rhythm, rarely relying on simply using one constant beat for the entire song - it leaps around like a monkey and keeps you on your toes, which is good I assure you.

Miles Booker's vocals are really powerful, although his tendency to shout may put many off, whilst others might not enjoy his husky untrained singing voice. Despite these flaws, this is seriously one of the finest examples of emo bands. Similar to Joshua, it's nice to see a band present ‘emo’ music without the down-tuned guitars and explosive riffs. It's always nice to have a change from the normal, and Rydell provide music that is both loud yet quiet - the music is powerful yet doesn't entirely dominate your ears, which can become annoying.

The real standout tracks come towards the middle of the album, mainly as the album swings into the second half. Such examples are 'Analysis of the Evidence' and 'Fire at the End of the Street', the second song providing a strange kind of script though its vocals: ‘first boy to the second boy; 'where do you think I am? how do you think it's gone tonight?’’ This is generally the quieter side of the album, where the punk-elements of the band are removed, and the juicy talent is exposed for your listening pleasure. 

Providing a very un-Rydell heavy-emo cover of ‘Boys of Summer’ by Don Henley for the final song, Rydell finish with a bang and justify their fanbase. This CD would have scored far higher if it weren't for the punk-style tracks at the beginning of the album, which weaken the LP as a whole; the first few tracks aren't bad, but they pale in comparison to what appears as you continue to listen.   

-Stephen Kyle



Drowned In Sound
, 7/10 – Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records)  

I’m guilty of judging upon first impressions more often than not, and when I first encountered Rydell, some years ago now at some hardcore / punk gig or other, I was distinctly unimpressed. A mixture of predictable influences I thought, with no real identity of their own. I forgot them, and got on with whatever it is I’ve been doing since.

Of course, such behaviour regularly results in a metaphysical slap about the face when the band in question re-emerges a few years later and blows one’s socks off.
Well, sorta – Rydell are a mixture of predictable influences (tick off Hot Water Music, The Get Up Kids and Braid on the ‘We really like US emo’ wallchart; no socks blown off here), but ‘Hard On The Trail’ is an entertaining and consistently upbeat listen that eclipses current scene darlings like The Holiday Plan with considerable ease. It bounces in all the right places, and on standout tracks like ‘Shifter (Girls With Skulls)’ you’re left wondering exactly how Rydell were overlooked for so long. As it happens this is their third and final album, which is a shame, as it’s unquestionably their best work, a dodgy hardcore cover of Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’ aside. Nothing mind-bendingly original then, but ‘Hard On The Trail’ is a solid, respectable epitaph that Rydell can be proud of, and is a worthy addition to any punk-rock kid’s collection.     

-Mike Diver



Scanner
– Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records)  

I’ve long championed this band in the pages of Scanner, although I seem to have lost touch with the band’s progression a little over the last year or so. Little has changed though - the songs are still strong and, if anything, the band seems somewhat more aggressive on this, the second full album. Some of the tracks have a distinct mid-period Hot Water Music vitality, if mixed with the contours of Braid and the smooth fluidity of Sensefield. There is some impressive - as ever - guitar interplay going on here as ‘Darkness Before Home’ and album highlight ‘Shifter’ prove. Singer Miles appears to have been snacking on broken glass too as his already distinctive and effective vocal now has a gruff attack about it without losing any of its subtleties. Hopefully this release will finally bring the band the recognition some of us have been demanding for many a year - it’s certainly a strong enough record to justify it.



Sellfish – Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 

Rydell is the name of those five gentlemen from the island who, like their fellow countrymen from Steel Rules Die, combine rough punk, devoted emo-rock and a pinch of hardcore. It is not surprising that the (somewhat moderately produced) result is reminiscent of Hot Water Music - especially since you already started a split 7 "with the heroes from Gainesville. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, the eleven songs have their own charm. Maybe this is because ‘Hard on the trail’ is miles away from the smoothly produced high-gloss products of some colleagues. Since their early days, the band has added a couple of brackets in terms of hardening their technical ability, so that the new work is a whole lot more compelling than the (also okay) singles compilation ‘Always remember everything’. In addition, with pieces like ‘Cut to end’ or the intense ‘Analysis of the evidence’, Rydell have a few really great pieces in their repertoire that won't let go of you quickly. Only with the ‘Boys of summer’ cover at the end is it possible at all - even if the included screamo version is at least a hundred percent better than the unspeakable Ataris copy of this wonderful Don Henley composition. These British guys deserve your attention; as do 'Engineer Records', a label worth supporting in the background. Just beautiful. 



Past & Present
– Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 

Musically Rydell is pretty predictable, I’d say. I mean, they sound a lot like many of the bands that are popular right now within modern hardcore, emo and punk music, but I still like this album. Not because it has anything new, but because it’s more memorable than a lot of what’s being released within this genre at the moment. And where else are you going to get a full-blown hardcore cover of Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’ anyway? 



Blueprint
, 7.5/10 – Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records)  

Rydell, a band that has somehow passed me in the last few years, should now sound through my home speakers again. A few years ago, the split 7″ with Hot Water Music brought Rydell to our attention. Maybe in between too, we should have listened, but I didn't, so enough of the senseless gibberish. Rydell delight us with nice snotty punk rock, as you are used to from them, and parallels to the above mentioned HWM are also not to be dismissed. The opener ‘Know now’ is extremely catchy, the melodies and enthusiasm spread. Associations with Samiam or early Get Up Kids  are also not far away. ‘Hard on the Trail’ offers a loosely flakey mix of emo and punk, a horny drunk voice from singer Miles Booker, and convinces you with good guitar work, varied tracks and great song writing. On top of it all you will hear several potential hits. OK, the production is not the best, but who cares. Finally there is the Don Henley classic ‘Boys of Summer’. Yes, I know, that's what the Ataris did - but here the song is turned through the meat grinder and pressed onto the record, plate like, with a lot of shouting and snot. That's how it should be. Let’s hear it again.


Derry High School Killing Team Zine – Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 
I'd never heard these guy's before but on first listen, to me it sounds very similar to Hot Water Music, quite catchy and up-beat stuff. It slows down a bit mid-album, but this helps to show the depth and song writing skills of the band. This isn't something I would normally buy but it's a nice album to relax to. The vocals don't have much of a range, I mean they sound good when the guy screams a little, but he doesn't really have a ‘singing’ voice, which would definitely add more to the band if he did, but the cool guitar work makes up for that. Two guitars always playing differently to each other like Fireside do it. What’s the point of having two guitars if they're just going to play the same thing? So that adds a lot to the album and the drums sound good too, but you can't hear too much of the bass. Rydell seem like a band that would do well to have more bass solo's and I don't mean like Rancid or anything but just something to add more to the quiet bits in the songs so they're more interesting. A good, enjoyable album that shows the potential of the band off well. 

Fans of Fireside, Rival Schools and Hot Water Music would appreciate this album.

Vampster
– Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 

Impeccable and officially rocking fodder for the emo disciples.

I am relieved. The way singer Miles Booker looks in the picture, you'd think the poor guy hasn't had anything fresh to wear in five weeks because he's looking so sad. The third album by the British emo stars isn't as sad and bitter as the sensitive boys look on the photos: Power, joie de vivre and here and there a few off-key tones rule here.
Nevertheless, it wouldn't be an emo record if the sensitive hooligans weren't a little more melancholic at times. Cut to End, for example, shows why RYDELL are simply necessary in this musical area: A powerful song with beautiful melodies and a lot of character thanks to Miles Booker's rough voice. RYDELL aren't violent for a second, but the rock part is considerable. RYDELL sometimes spit around nicely, but don't forget the melodies. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes sad, sometimes happy; the quintet from the island is versatile and actually convinces in all areas, even if Analysis of the Evidence is a bit long-winded and the guitars are mixed too thinly. Otherwise, Hard on the Trail is perfect and officially rocking fodder for the emo fans, which is really successful in its own way, not too smooth ironed and, above all, very original. Anyone who likes Hot Water Music and Jimmy Eat will definitely have a lot of fun with the third album by the Brits.

Penny Black
– Hard on the Trail (Engineer Records) 

Excellent farewell album from the underacknowledged and unique Rydell, who were one of the early champions of the Emo movement.


Nearly three years ago, an album arrived on my doormat that simply changed the foundations of my musical tastes and left me utterly committed to underground music. Since then, Emo has gone mainstream and been subsequently ridiculed, despite the passion and brilliance of the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Rival Schools and Hundred Reasons.

The world Rydell’s album opened up for me, however, went a long way beyond mainstream emo, to a scene that may only have small audiences comparatively but whose audiences are passionately devoted to this music, and whose bands really are completely unique and breathtakingly good. Without Rydell’s album I would never have seeked out the bands that influenced them, like Chamberlain – who I interviewed last year and whose 'The Moon My Saddle' is an all-time favourite, or Elliott, or the Appleseed Cast, or the completely ignored but brilliant Crosstide, or the legion of Deep Elm Records bands, in particular Brandtson.
I say this in all my reviews, but if you like indie rock, then you will like these bands. If I had to choose between these and the far more celebrated records I own, these win every time. Despite all the praise lavished on so many art-rock bands, these bands – who get a criminally small coverage – outstrip them in all areas. Not just in passion and songwriting, but in experimentation and adventurousness and recklessness as well.

But when it comes down to it, Rydell’s 'Per Ardua Ad Astra' was the first, and I’ll always love it. No wonder it was my album of the year in 2001. If I could vote for it every year, I probably would. Age has not decreased its power. Last year, Rydell put out a compilation of early and rare tracks, including some acoustic interpretations, but finally a full follow up has emerged. Tragically, it is the last act in the Rydell story as the band has been forced to break up. Like so many great bands before them, the lack of commercial recognition had meant that other commitments have had to take precedence over the music. Like Chamberlain and Elliott they have broken up despite being on a creative roll.

'Hard On The Trail' is a more diverse collection than 'Per Ardua Ad Astra', which was very immediate. This takes more time, but the melodies are always there and the arrangements always unique. The band is, however, ever so slightly more adventurous on this album. 'Per Ardua Ad Astra' was very much an emo album, but there are certainly nods here to the band’s hardcore roots, especially on their likeable cover of ‘The Boys Of Summer’. The band doesn’t hide their influences, but they don’t allow these bands to dictate their direction either. The gruff hardcore of Hot Water Music is seemingly incompatible with the pop rock of the Get Up Kids or the introspection of Chamberlain or indeed the mysteriousness of early REM, but all are part of the Rydell package. There are even hints of a hidden admiration for the Strokes in the jangly but propulsive guitar lines.

If you are already a Rydell fan, and anyone with sense is, rest assured that just because this is the final offering it is not below par. 'Team Building Exercise' is by far and away the best thing they’ve done, 'Know Now' is Rydell at their most intense and 'Cut To End' their most catchy. Frontman Milo’s vocals veer from sweet and melodic to full out intensity, whilst the interaction between the instrumentalists allows them to do pretty much the same. The production is top notch. I can’t decide if it’s a better album as a whole than 'Per Ardua Ad Astra', so if you’re new to Rydell then just get both! Then check out their label’s website and order some Chamberlain and Elliott records. It’ll make sense to you! The only question that remains is, album of the year? Almost certainly! Rydell may not be famous, but they will be missed.

Kerrang – KKKK (i.e. 4 stars) Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)

One of the best British emo albums ever made.
The smokey atmospherics of Afghan Whigs, the twin vocal attack of Hot Water Music, gorgeous melodic arrangements a la Braid. Frankly, this is a quite fantastic collection of influences, and a suitably fantastic album.

The band is made up of former members of such UK bands as Couch Potatoes, Joeyfat, Wact and Rude Dog. Their collective experience enables them to embrace both the upbeat, poppier side of the emo genre - 'Why Couldn't We Have Met In The Summer?' is Get Up Kids-meets-Promise Ring, and the less instant, more thoughtful side too - witness 'The Plot Is Lost', a laid-back, passionate beauty.

There are a lot of good British post-punk bands around, but few reach the heights of their American forefathers. Rydell do. And occasionally they go beyond them. Utterly brilliant.
-Ashley Bird


Rocksound - Per Ardua Ad Astra - (Headhunter)
Rydell's line-up has one hell of a c.v. Having played over 800 shows between them (including supporting some band called Green Day), they combined forces to form this melodic hardcore/emo band and plan on taking the world by storm. With the rising popularity in that scene it appears that they couldn't have picked a better time to unleash 'Per Ardua Ad Astra' on their following. Songs like 'Why couldn't we have met in the Summer?' are dripping with power and melody, while also possessing that abrasive edge that the emo scene is well known for. While not possessing the catchiness or instantly memorable hooks in their songs that some bands have, Rydell offer up emotional journeys like 'Ghost Culture' making this another interesting addition to their impressive resume.

-Graham Finney


Big Cheese - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)

Let me start by saying that this is truly great. All the essential elements necessary for a remarkable album are here. There are a few really tasty English bands doing the rounds and playing very good and similar music but this is the best I have heard for a while. This said, they take their lead from US and European bands/labels that I like. They are at the Deep Elm end of the genre. I still feel this is selling Rydell short. Lovely and intricate guitar work underpins the music allowing the bass and rhythm section to explore new ground and bring in elements alien to a lot of bog standard emotive guitar rock. The vocals sound natural and hence are more powerful for it. Combining with seemingly confessional lyrics (I didn't get the lyrics in the pack) the voice almost doubles up as another instrument.

The album is recorded relatively sparsely allowing the instruments and the voice to lead the listener where the band want them to go. Too often bands rely on the production of the record to do this. This means that the record can sound more fragile, and it allows the musicians to take it to the next level when they play live, which incidentally they do. I recommend this record.

Ox - Germany, 8/10 - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)

Once again I’m surprised in a positive way by RYDELL, who have released their best album yet. Ok, ok, they are dealt as 'emo', but since they are not rookies in this business and not suspicious in any way to have jumped onto a trend-train, it´s allowed to title them like that. But it makes even more sense to give a choice of several bands RYDELL toured with: HOT WATER MUSIC, SAMIAM, BURNING AIRLINES, KARATE, BLUETIP... - this is the circle RYDELL move in. Most of all the first two bands have been the best teachers in drive, aggression and angry melancholy, although RYDELL have already proved with their first releases that they play in the same league as the bands named above. Great band and I hope to see them on a stage in my area soon.


Reason To Believe - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)

This is how i think emo should be... not half-baked, indie-rock, cry baby, pretty boy, fashion victim kak with self indulgent, useless, apathetic lyrics... But full-on, inventive, powerful, heartfelt, intelligent, mid 90's esque, still wears foundation skate flannels, inspirational word spewing stuff like this. These fellas are one of the most underrated bands in the UK. And why? Because they don't act like fuckwit rockstars or ponce about trying to get the ladies. (Well, i'm sure Dave does, but obviously nothings ever going to happen in that department...). I've always been into these guys and I respect them whole heartedly for their great attitude and musical ability. They're even better now they've made Miles stop pretending to play guitar and get in a new lad who actually knows what he's doing. Ah yes, Rydell, you rock!

-LH


Drowned In Sound - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter) 

In amidst dissing most of the newer punk/rock bands around today I remember Gubby from Cargo Music raving on about this bunch, saying how much they stand out from the pack as musicians & songwriters. And I’ve gotta say I haven’t heard anything quite like them.


Each song is an emotional yearning or reminiscence with song titles like ‘Why Couldn’t We Have Met In The Summer?’ and ‘My Life In Motion’. Fiddley, twiddley dual guitars dance around a supportive bass line while powerfully delivered vocals speak melancholic words of what could & should have been.

In fact, on first listening it could be the vocals that put you off but I think it’s this uniqueness that I like about Rydell. When he does muster the energy to sing it does sort of verge on the out-of-tune, but ‘Gilsenan’ sees this husky vocal style mix strangely well with those twiddley emo guitars.

If you’re looking for something with power & drive but also relaxingly different to chill out to then I’d check these guys out. (As well as label mates The Firebird Band).

-Mat Hocking


UK Base - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter) 

I had not heard much about Rydell until I did their page (on UK Base), but now I will definitely be keeping an eye on them. There are 13 songs on this CD and they vary between 'Home' which at times is almost hardcore, to the atmospheric structure of 'Ad Astra'. Most people write this band off as emo and there is something in that but listening to it, you can definitely hear a early DC sound especially bands like Rites of Spring, this comes over to a large extent in 'Bring The Lights Down', 'Why Couldn't We Have Meet In The Summer?' and 'Erratic Erotic', the latter sound a little like Sink as well. There are songs on this CD l that do take influences from Hot Water Music ie 'Dreams & Lines', which is no big surprise seeing as Rydell have shared a release and a tour with Hot Water Music.


Having mentioned all these different influences, Rydell still manage to bring a style in all of their own. Miles vocals are great, a little like Leatherface but not so growly (though at times on 'Collapser' they did sound a bit to much like some indie Manchester band) and the way David & Mark play off each other with their guitar work is outstanding, not forgetting the rhythm section's underlining power. The varied styles on this release also stops the CD becoming monotonous as some emo albums can be.

If you’re an emo fan, get this release - it's that simple.
If you're like me and like all genres of Punk, Hardcore, Emo, etc. Then this release is well worth spending your hard-earned cash on. 
If you hate emo still check out the mp3's on their page as this band may change your mind.
Summary : Probably the best emo release ever by a UK band.

Rhythm and Booze - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)
Over in America emocore or melodic hardcore if you prefer is becoming big news. Dischord Records has certainly helped the scene with releases of the likes of Bluetip and other acts like Samiam and Hot Water Music are getting much deserved praise. Here in England it looks like we're starting to understand it and there are now a number of home grown bands that are easily competing with their American counterparts. Rydell are one of the best of them. 


This is Rydell's third(?) album and having toured with Hot Water Music, Bluetip and Samiam amongst others they know exactly what emo fans are looking for. Rydell have written an album that is packed with shimmering guitars and vocals that are both powerful and full of emotion; to class this under hardcore is somewhat misleading it has nothing in common with the likes of Tribute to Nothing or Knuckledust. For a start the music is so much more restrained. Yes, it is really powerful in places but with emotion rather than brutality. The vocals aren't grunted or growled, they're sung with passion, ok they night be slightly snarled but still clear and hook laden.

Collapser is about someone collapsing and possibly dying and it's handled with such melody that it's truly heart-breaking. Erratic Erotic is somewhat punkier, it motors away but you could still imagine it being played on Radio One. There is even an amazingly subtle instrumental called Ad Astra that is just so quiet that you have to alter the volume to hear its shimmering beauty. All in all, this is an album that deserves to be heard. It's charged with emotion and holds your attention from start to finish, a truly mesmerising album of emo/melodic hardcore.


Splendid - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)
Oh my god, the British do emo?! Just kidding. Comprised of ex-members of some well-known UK hardcore bands, Rydell's members have collectively played over 800 hardcore shows, making them something of an English emo supergroup. And they feel things deeply and poignantly. This is as obvious from wistful song titles like 'All My Neighbours Have Moved' and 'Why Couldn't We Have Met In Summer' as it is from the trademark mournful hardcore scream of the lead-singer (whose name I don't know because, surprisingly, the band members' names aren't listed anywhere, not even on the label website!).

Sometimes it seems that if you’ve heard one emo band, you’ve heard them all. But putting my emo cynicism aside, Rydell is an interesting listen. They have a musical diversity in the same vein as Hot Water Music, with moments of intelligent yet melodic aggression which call to mind Leatherface, but without the Oi! overtones. 'Ghost Culture' is the strongest track on the album, making good use of layered vocals (something they also attempt on the final track, 'Bitten to Bits') and shifts from sweet melodies to abrupt riffs and back again. There is a definite hooky, indie-rock feel to Rydell’s flavour of emo.

While some have compared Rydell to The Get Up Kids because of their poppier side, I really just don’t hear it; the music is more aggressive, the vocal style too traditionally hardcore. I like this album for the same reason I like other emo albums - the energy and raw emotion - but Rydell's sound has more depth and variety, making Per Ardua Ad Astra more compelling than most of the competition.

-Alex Zorn


PennyBlackMusic - Per Ardua Ad Astra (Headhunter)
When I think of hardcore punk I think of loud, fast and simplistic music from labels such as Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. A lot of people hate this stuff and, despite being a fan of NOFX, Terrorgruppe and The Get Up Kids, I can see that they might have a point. It is great, therefore, to have discovered two magnificent punk bands on the same label (Mycomplex and now Rydell) who don't conform to this simplistic approach. This record is both melodic and fast but is also far from lacking in genuine musical thrills. Rydell are great musicians, and they make a wonderful noise.

Rydell are comprised of ex-members of bands such as Couch Potatoes, Joeyfact, Wact and Rude Dog. They have managed to play collectively over 800 shows on their various projects and next on their list is a tour of America. To be honest such is the American influence on their sound that I wouldn't have known they were British. The band I feel they most sound like is ....And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and the vocal styles of these two groups appear very similar. The voice is not the focus of the sound, nor are the vocals technically strong but they don't resort to pointless shouting.

The most striking thing about Rydell is the guitar sound. Unlike so many punk groups it is clear and distinctive, not tuned low in that stereotypical nu-metal/grunge way and not resorting to power chords and noise for noise's sake. Added to this is the combination of two guitars in tandem with the rhythm section. It provides a tight rhythmic sound far different from the sloppy style often associated with punk. Rydell are perhaps at their best when they abandon the vocals entirely on the slow reflective instrumental track 'Ad Astra'.

The press info makes some snooty remark about how they prove that England doesn't only do Britpop. That Britpop went out of fashion in 1996 has clearly escaped their attention! They do have a point in some ways because Rydell prove that punk rock isn't a distinctly American forte nowadays. In fact they take a distinctly American template and improve it immensely. I'd go as far to say that this is the best thing I've heard so far this year. Good luck in America guys!

-Ben Howarth

Download press sheet here