In late 2013 Mojo20 were lucky enough to be offered an interview with a band that we’d been listening to and enjoying for years, since 2006 probably. I remember when I first heard of the Rifles, and it was all by chance, after wandering into a club in Coventry to find that there was a band playing. I was surprised by how we’d paid no admission fee, and there was an awesome band playing on a Saturday night, but I was even more surprised when I found out after a little bit of research the next day, that the band we’d seen was actually very successful, currently in the middle of an international tour, and had their first LP out. After buying ‘No Love Lost’ and playing it to death for the next two years, I was firmly a big fan of The Rifles. So having the chance to interview them was a complete honour, and news of a brand new album, was rather exciting too. But did it live up to expectation? Am I still as big a fan as I was? Well keep reading… obviously.
So, the eleven track long, fourth studio album from the London based four piece, kicks off with first single release from the LP, ‘Minute Mile’. It’s a strong and catchy, riff heavy number that has to be applauded as a perfect selection for the song to unleash on the world in order to garner attention before the big LP release. It’s beautifully catchy and easy to get along with. The Rifles appear to have matured in their sound, and production value is of course a lot higher on this track than some of the stuff from their debut. We’ve featured this song in our DJ sets at Kind already and it’s also featured on this week’s Sunday Soundtrack.
So we’ve seen a very strong start to the album, but does it progress well? Well, second track in, ‘Heebie Jeebies’, at first didn’t take my breath away, but it becomes clear that it’s a fun, fast paced tune, with a bit more edge. It appears to be acting almost as a segue or a bit of cleverly placed padding before hammering into a big, catchy, soppy, indie tune that the Rifles are known for, ‘Go Lucky’ is one of those songs that showcases their sound perfectly and makes them stand out as a band to be recognised. I was going to continue pouring over track three but track four came on and it’s a real beauty. With a similar dynamic to the previous, ‘All I Need’ is definitely a highlight, and my favourite so far from the album. Again, it’s indie angst, and it’s romantic but it’s catchy and it’d be one to get you up and dancing at your next indie night (Transmission).
The ratio of slower, ballad-esque songs, to big observational indie party bangers is probably tipped in the formers favour, but it seems to work well like that. ‘Minute mile’ seems to be that one big tune, that will have you dancing and singing along, and then the rest of the album will have you listening intently, or smiling to yourself on the bus. ‘The Hardest Place To Find Me’ is certainly one that gives me that impression. I wouldn’t want this to become a track by track review because that’d be rather dull, but the ones I’ve already mentioned, deserved to have a mention. One other thing that needs mentioning is track 11, but only for the fact that it’s down as a hidden track, or at least on iTunes anyway. It’s called ‘On Top Of The World’… I know this because I can see it, sat there, bold as brass on my iTunes. Not very hidden then is it mate? If this was hide and seek, you’ve just lost pal! Not really sure I understand why people do this, but anyway, I’m a big fan of these guys so I’m not knocking it at all. It also turns out to be a very good song so I’m glad I didn’t have to look for it too hard. It initially reminds me of Knights of Cydonia by Muse, but then it turns out… to not be.
The Rifles really have returned in incredible form and this album continues on in a similar fashion to what I’ve already mentioned. It appears to be a very well thought out piece of work, with care and attention thrown into it, and it shows as it really is great. It’s a wonderful collection of songs by a band that should be household names. If you’ve heard of the Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys and all those indie bands from the 2005-2008 era, then there really isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t be a big fan of the Rifles. Perhaps this album will do that for them, but for now I’ll just continue to enjoy them anyway. One interesting point about the album is that there has been some line up changes over the years, and between the four album releases. But for this one, the original four have reunited, and I’m not sure whether that makes any difference but it could contribute to the fact that the Rifles are stronger than ever.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)
Click here to read the interview with The Rifles!