Thirty-year-old former emo kids still haven’t found it in their hearts to forgive Weezer for its last decade of music. Many fans threw 2001’s Green Album under the bus for being a bombastic caricature of what Rivers Cuomo thought a Weezer album should sound like. For Your Rival’s Mo Troper, though, who was just a kid when “Hash Pipe” made its rounds on alt-rock radio, his reaction was quite different.
“A lot of people acknowledged that Weezer used to be really good,” Troper says. “I was 10 at the time, and I just thought that record was awesome. I eventually worked backward to Pinkerton and the Blue Album, but me and [drummer] Nate [Sonenfeld] definitely used Weezer as common ground to get the band going.”
Portland’s Your Rival plays earnest power pop with searing power chords and loud-quiet dynamics that hark back to a time Troper, 21, wasn’t old enough to appreciate. Considering the band members’ average age, it would be easy for a crotchety old music blogger to off-handedly lump the group in with what the Internet has collectively dubbed “twinklecore,” a movement of young musicians giving new life to emo, a genre that, beginning in the mid-2000s, devolved into a screamy, “post-hardcore” sausagefest.
Troper appreciates the gesture, but ultimately he thinks the idea of some great comeback for emo is missing the mark.
“A lot of this stuff is a reaction to the shitty state of emo, but the other aspect is people wanting this Nirvana-esque thing again,” Troper says. “People really like the idea of rock ’n’ roll being popular again, especially people that write about music. That’s why people are latching on to this idea of, ‘Hey! People are playing emo again!’ Sure, that record from The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die charted, but it charted at 194. What does it even mean anymore? The charts are a ghost town.”
Here’s to Me, Your Rival’s full-length debut, is filled with the bouncy hooks and shout-along choruses one would expect from a group of kids in their early 20s who know no other approach. The urgent delivery of standouts “Spraycan” and “What I Look for in a Man” is the direct product of restless youth. But even though Your Rival has plenty of youth left, Troper is already questioning whether basing a band on it is a sustainable model.
Metallica—those guys act like they’re 13, which is ridiculous,” he says.
“Everyone wants to be in that band when they’re a boy, then they grow
out of it. With emo, it’s a
similar thing. That’s why all those Kinsella brothers aren’t doing that
Cap’n Jazz shit anymore. They were teenagers when they did it. Then
again, Metallica never grew out of it. I just hope I’m not a shithead in
band therapy when I’m 35.”
SEE IT: Your Rival plays Anna Bannanas, 2403 NE Alberta St., with Lee Corey Oswald, Our First Brains and Soft Skills, on Friday, Oct. 18. 7 pm. Free. All ages.