The Rifles - Great Escape
Record Label: 679 Recordings
Release Date: September 15, 2009 (US)
Europe seems to be pumping out indie bands every minute these days, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found The Rifles, a band from the UK that seems to channel a bit of the British Invasion that swept our shores in the 80's. Their sophomore album, Great Escape, kicks off rather quietly, but do not turn up your volume. Within 30 seconds, they explode with "Science In Violence", a grittier track that was meant for a big stage. Joel Stoker's vocals show a definite Morrissey influence, but that's about as far as the Smiths comparisons go. The lyrics are a definite plus in this song, especially during the chorus; "They're not ever gonna listen, not until you react / so perhaps there is a science in violence" The fourth track on the album, "Sometimes", reminds me of something that the Cribs or the Strokes may have come up with, and in this case it's a very good thing.
The first single on the album, "Fall To Sorrow", while one of the better tracks, is definitely not the standout on the album (I'm going to have to give that to "Science In Violence"), and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was by the Cribs. Coming in at track seven, "Winter Calls" is definitely a misleading song title. It sounds quite happy, and the hand claps add a bit of flavor to the song, but the lyrics are the exact opposite; "But don't leave me out in the cold / Foolishly shaking my bones / If you don't want my heart, let me know / I get lonely when winter calls". "Romeo and Julie" is one of the catchier songs on the album, and a great choice for their second single. The closer, "For the Meantime", slows things down a bit, as a violin and ukulele are added to the acoustic guitar. The band makes the song work, though, and it doesn't come off as "the token acoustic song".
One of the things that makes this band's music so appealing is that their songs aren't musically complex, but they remain original and aren't the same four-chord progression over and over, song after song. They can also definitely write a hook - I found myself singing the chorus of "Sometimes" in the shower this morning after spending the previous day listening to the album.Credit must be given where credit is due, and The Rifles deserve it for avoiding the sophomore slump. The lyrics aren't jaw-dropping, but it's definitely a breath of fresh air hearing songs about something other than love or a bitter ex. If you're in the mood for some great new British tunes, this is an album for you. The influences are abundant and apparent on this album, but the Rifles do them justice.
these doods are unbelievably under-rated around here and in the states in general. Don't look too hard for ultra deep song-writing and lyrics but they have a feel good vibe that easily overshadows potential shortcomings the music community may be critical of. I got my first exposure to The Rifles through a show called Soccer AM in the UK which their music is regularly featured on and its been an great ride. These doods rock. Do yourself a favor and set aside some time to give their discography a spin.