2011 was a very good year for Secret Rivals, air play on national radio stations such as 6 Music and Radio 1 and with a busy year on the festival circuit that included Bestival, they have now moved into the premier league of Oxford bands, but after being on the scene now for two years they have caused me a bit of a dilemma. I cannot decide if they are a band who could make a bigger impact outside of Oxford or if they just a one dimensional band who could be easily found out if you scratch the surface.
Their new single show’s a slight change in approached, the chaotic messy sound of previous releases has developed into a cleaner sharper sound. ‘Once More With Heart’ starts with a strong upbeat bass line that then infuses the rhythmic guitars and synth. The track has the boy/girl shouty vocals in keeping with their style and indie/pop influences but has a more softer sentimental feel.
‘I Know Something’ starts off with slower quieter beat, more subdued than the previous track, with a soft guitar background following the female vocals. The volume is then increased as the song develops, delayed guitars echo out load and drum beat becomes more aggressive to the songs finale. The song keeps with the new more professional approach and will please their current followers and as well as the new.
The single’s cleaner/sharper sound is a strong improvement for the Rivals, they are now showing that they are to be taken seriously and can develop their sound into the mainstream, but at the same time keeping some of their edge.
Released on 16th January 2012 by It’s All Happening Records