Rival Town – ‘Make It Work’

By Chris Hilson

Rival Town – ‘Make It Work’

In a time where pretty much anyone with an internet connection can upload their music to the web, it would have been easy for Ontario 6-piece Rival Town to fade into the background. The band faces competition from a multitude of small town pop punk bands who have taken their influence from those such as Yellowcard, New Found Glory, and – of course – Blink 182, all hoping to reach an audience that will take something from their music.

Their task is not an easy one, and while ‘Make It Work’ does, for the most part, sound like the kind of pop punk we hear all the time from bands all over the world, there are moments of brilliance that suggest with a few more years, Rival Town might just break through the barriers and become something great.

As you make your way through the EP, the band’s influences are clear. Whether it is reminiscent of A Day to Remember as in ‘Subjective’, or Real Friends like in ‘Shot Down’, their own music taste seeps into everything they do. That isn’t to say, though, that they don’t find ways to implement their own signature sound, too. Drummer Devon Forbes steals the show with his consistently outstanding drumming, andOpen Windows’, sees them integrate a heavier and more layered sound to an otherwise melodic collection of tracks. Furthermore, if you take a moment to listen past the heavy Americanised accent, it is evident that front man Cary Hanson’s vocal talent goes beyond what might otherwise be expected of the pop punk genre.

Lyrically, the EP is made up of all the angst and pain fans of the genre have come to love, frequently returning to themes of tumultuous relationships with both people and places, unrequited feelings, and the regret that comes with ruining something good. While thematically it offers nothing novel, the lyrics themselves suggest that a complex mind lies behind the man that wrote them.

Rival Town and their fans will be rewarded with perseverance. Like most pop punk bands, it will take time for them to find a sound that is truly their own, but they undoubtedly have all the tools to ‘make it work’. In the mean time, they have created something catchy with the added value of complexity and depth in terms of lyrics that will ensure both old and new fans stick around to see what comes next.


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