RIVALS is a five-piece band from Michigan consisting of Steven Klier (guitar), Bradley Butkovich (guitar) Corey Koski (drums), Matt Langlais (bass) and Alexi Geshel (vocals). The band plays certified pop punk on their EP Summer Sweat. They aren't reinventing the wheel here by any stretch of the imagination but fans of bands like Paramore will certainly want to check them out.
Pop punk in general has been a genre that was made for a younger generation. It’s not exactly smooth jazz. The lyrics, pent up energy and music feels more appropriate for teenagers and young adults in their early 20’s trying to get a handle on the overwhelming feelings they are experiencing.
Geshel sings about topics that most young people have to deal with. Mainly the turbulent, volatile romantic relationships that are practically standard while going through your younger years. Geshel articulately sings about about the frustrations, heartbreak, and appreciation of the process.
They open with “Act Enthused” which really gives you a good idea of what to expect from the remainder of the EP. The band is extremely tight and in the pocket which is omething I can’t say about all pop punk bands. They keep the energy up and don’t let it down.
On “Talk To Me” she sings about frustrations of not being able to talk to her romantic interest. She sings, “Your friends take me on dates because you won't make a move.” Don’t worry it will get easier in a couple of years. The band continues to impress with solid songwriting and catchy hooks on songs like “Six Speed” and “Some Strange Way.” The band closes with “Leaving” which is a reflective, nostalgic look at the relationship.
RIVALS does a great job covering the criteria for the genre. The one thing I would mention is that they may also want to think about how they can also move past it as well by implementing techniques, sounds and energy that other like minded bands have not thought about. It’s definitely a hard thing to accomplish but something that could give them an edge in this oversaturated arena.
Summer Sweat is an EP made by a younger generation for a younger generation. Recommended.
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