Review: Rydell

““Per Ardua Ad Astra””
(Cargo Music / Headhunter Records)

Apparently, the United States’ newfound love of all things emo has seeped across the Atlantic Ocean to bonny ol’ England.  It must be tough to be an emo kid in the UK.  When you’re at the pub with your mates you probably talk about how great Iggy Pop and the Sex Pistols are, but when you’re alone back at your flat you put on your black wig, tight brown trousers, and thick glasses while listening to the Modest Mouse import CD with the lights down low.  Such is the hard, melodic rode Rydell has traveled to this, their first US release.  Rydell have obviously studied the emoest of emo bands The Get Up Kids extensively, as much of their soft melodies have their roots in earlier GUKs’ releases.  Many of the tracks on “Per Aruda” (whatever that means) follow a paint-by-emo approach to music…a little twang from a distorted guitar here, a soft beat from a snare drum there, a couple of overly dramatized waling lyrics and viola! Instant emo.  That’s not to say it’s a horrid album.  Rydell’’s lyrics, while occasionally sappy as in “Collapser”, are undeniably heartfelt.  Unfortunately the overall product does not measure up to the work of Hot Rod Circuit or Built to Spill.  But it’s better than picturing Margaret Thatcher naked.