By Ray Adair
Dublin based post-pop-punk act Only Rivals have been quite busy as of late. The quartet consists of Stephen Arkins on lead vocals and guitar, Sean Reid on bass, Jason McTernan on guitar and backing vocals, and Ally Doyle on drums. Having risen from the ashes of much loved pop-punk act Homestar Runner, the lads reformed in 2013 and reworked their sound, with grittier guitars, heavier riffs, and stronger vocal performances. Only Rivals float away from pop-punk and towards alternative rock, resting somewhere in the creative middle ground between the two.
Hard at work touring the UK, Only Rivals have spent the last year and a half performing with well-known pop-punk superstars Finch, All Time Low, and New Found Glory to name but a few. The band have also played with national treasure Johnny Logan on the Late Late show and continue to sell out solo shows on their home turf. Only Rivals have been featured in Rock music magazines Kerrang and Rock Sound, as well as multiple UK indie music blogs.
Having released their debut EP “Details” which spawned fan favourites such as “Borders” and “History”, “Sing” is the most recent production by Only Rivals, due out July 24th. The new track is in keeping with the bands new found sound, but features some clean semi-hollowbody guitar action amongst the usual distorted punk riffs, crafting a clear and punchy tone which complements Atkins strong and melodic vocal capabilities brilliantly.
If you like harmonies, this song will hurt your heart – hitting perfect pitches and eargasmic overtones. Rattling basslines and snare heavy percussion feature throughout the track and more melodic mid sections are sprinkled in to form a catchy and memorable anthem. The chorus for “Sing” is undeniably true to the lads’ pop-punk roots with its elongated vocal sections and steady solid chord progressions. This track is a real belter for parties or as a new addition to your iPod’s feel-good playlist. Accompanied by a nicely polished video, reminiscent of up and coming Irish punk/hardcore act Murdock’s “Irk”, and featuring distorted shots of the band performing the track in a darkened room, Only Rivals have kept their image clean and basic, allowing the focus to remain on their musical talent.
Only Rivals have recently been signed to London based So Recordings, and if “Sing” is anything to go by, you should keep an eye out for the bands up and coming debut LP, which is sure to be a one stop shop for harder and heavier pop-punk glory, and instrumental in the current revival of pop-punk directions.