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Rydell

Anchors and Parachutes


January 3rd, 2008 · post by alice · Make a comment

Record label: Chorus of one records

This is not some grand reunion album but in fact an anthology of one of the UK emo/hardcore scene’s most unlucky bands. Rydell, a band with little hometown support and who’s US tour was planned to start around 11th September 2001. In their favour, they knew Hot Water Music were awesome years before the rest of us, bringing them to Europe for the first time and touring throughout the continent. Not only that, but the Rydell/Hot Water Music split 7” has managed to shift over six thousand copies, giving Rydell at least one piece of luck in their turbulent time, sharing vinyl space with one of 90s hardcore’s greats. Also in their favour, their track ‘Try 17’ is a wonderful story of missed opportunity.

Although often mocked or over-looked for their bad luck or bad timing (in all senses of the word since it wasn’t until about halfway through the band’s career that they really hit their creative stride, and their second full-length ‘Hard on the Trail’ was released on their own label Engineer – still going strong after the band’s demise), this anthology collects the majority of the band’s musical output between 1997 and 2004.

‘Anchors and Parachutes’ features the bulk of their two albums, plus odds and sods from splits. Heavily influenced by early Get Up Kids, Braid and Samiam, Rydell sang of the boredom of living in a small town, relationships, and all the messy and confusing troubles that come with growing up. ‘Why Couldn’t We Have Met In Summer’ bursts out beautifully, which alongside ‘Fire at the End of the Street’ and ‘Ground Never Held Me’ showcases Rydell’s knack of penning some gorgeous bouncing guitar lines. Letting these build to rocking harder as the vocals increase in anger and energy, and then chill out again, prove Rydell to have been a hidden gem in the mid-90s DIY scene. They also had a good ear for samples, with snippets from ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Virgin Suicides’ and Tom Robinson’s ‘Still Loving You’ amongst others, reinforcing the images of feeling rejected by one’s so-called peers, with honesty, frustration and thoughtfulness. ‘Heaven Ditty’ screams with dissatisfaction, while album closer ‘Boys of Summer’ (a cover of the Don Henley song, recorded before the Ataris got there, fact fans) with gruff and screaming vocals, making the soft rock radio hit a melodic hardcore delight, a reassuring call to arms to all of us who know the boredom of a provincial town and the comfort to be gained from music, creativity and a few good friends who understand you.

If you were there first time, ‘Anchors and Parachutes’ is worth a listen with an open mind and set of ears to reassess a band often the unfair butt of jokes amongst the hardcore scene in this country. For those who missed Rydell, this anthology is an opportunity to discover their great and honest contribution to British emo, before emo was a dirty word, and what a worthy and delightful contribution that was. (Alice)

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