With their new EP, ‘Make It Work’ Ontario pop-punks Rival Town look to leave their mark with an energetic collection of catchy hooks and big breakdowns with a heartfelt spine. While songs such as ‘Colder’ and ‘Shot Down’ thrive off bold guitar riffs and soaring choruses, the sextet aren’t afraid to diversify their sound; ‘Subjective’ chugs along with intent, ‘Open Windows’ is an emotionally-charged highlight with ‘Untitled’ ending things on an ominious note. Over the course of its six tracks, Rival Town deal with the weight of expectation, moving away from home, and personal struggle.
Overall, ‘Make It Work’ documents a band growing in confidence after experiencing the usual independent band struggles. Rival Town are well worth taking notice of.
And to give you a better understanding of what Rival Town are all about, we recently spoke to them as they broke down ‘Make It Work’ track-by-track.
‘Colder’ touches on a lot of the same emotions as ‘See Through’, and it was actually reconstructed from a song/story concept Cary (Hanson – vocals) wrote years ago. This one very much focuses on the heart’s struggle with practicality, and is almost like the “anti-See Through”. It heavily invokes the concept of shutting yourself or your emotions away in an attempt to protect yourself. Musically, the song progresses from mellow guitar vibes to swirling skate punk in the second verse. We felt like it was a great opener.
‘Subjective’ was written with the idea of sinking into complacency. Before we moved (to St. Catharines, Ontario), some of us felt like we weren’t doing all that we could to progress as musicians and professionals. The day to day routine was weighing on us and we knew a change was needed. As for the music, Chris (Peterson) had this gnarly-ass guitar riff he was messing around with. At first, it was a little too “easycore” for Rival Town. But once we tweaked it and added the heavy outro, we thought the song was a total fit for the new vibe we’re headed in.
3. Shot Down
‘Shot Down’ was a song we needed to write about our old home in Thunder Bay. It plays with the idea of expectations from friends and family after making such a big commitment to music. Lyrically, it took Bryce and Cary a couple of hours to work it out the way they envisioned. If any song on the EP has “the hook”, it’s probably ‘Shot Down’. We especially love the way the second verse kicks in. That halftime part is super fun to play live.
4. Open Windows
‘Open Windows’ was written about a relationship our guitarist, Bryce (Smith), unfortunately, ended before the move. It uses the metaphor of a Summer and enjoying it while it lasts because most good things are temporary. It’s definitely a more depressing song, but was very therapeutic and came naturally while being written. The song doesn’t really follow a formulaic structure. It’s a little bit more chaotic than some of our previous releases, but we think that’s the reason we enjoy it so much. Admittedly the breakdown comes out of left field, but that’s exactly the vibe we were going for.
5. See Through
‘See Through’ is one of the more literal songs lyrically on the EP. It’s meant the resonate the struggle between your brain and your heart, and that as hard as it may be, sometimes you need to make the smart decision. Musically, Bryce had been playing around with the riff for a while. Devon (Forbes) really liked it and wanted to try jamming it out in a full band setting. The first time Cary sang the song with vocals, we were so excited on how it came out.
The funny thing about ‘Untitled’ is it was originally written as an extension to another song we had, but we felt that it would be a great addition after ‘See Through’. The song is sort of a recap of our feelings at the end of the year. It’s very simple, but it has a ton of feeling. The way the heavy part comes in is probably the most fun thing to play live.
‘Make it Work’ EP by Rival Town is out now on Manic Kat Records.