Unleashed onto the music scene in 2006, The Rifles have been quietly plodding away, doing their own brand of music, picking up a loyal fan base, as well as a few high profile fans, which is always a nice touch, particularly when those fans just happen to be your musical heroes, with the likes of Paul Weller and Oasis giving them their seal of approval. Their last album Freedom Run was critical acclaimed and they return with their fourth studio album, in the shape of None The Wiser. The album was recorded by the newly reformed original line up of Joel Stoker (vocals, guitar), Lucas Crowther (guitar, vocals), Robert Pyne (drums) and Grant Marsh (bass).
The album as a whole is a sort’ve indie, mod, pop, mid 90’s jamming session sort’ve album. You know, those bands that were around in the Brit-Pop era? This album sounds like it fits into that mould, with some fine songwriting and easy on the ear melodies. When asked where the band have drawn additional influences for the making of the album, they cit Talking Heads, Bob Dylan, Clash and the ever present Beatles.
We definitely prefer the latter part of the album, as we found that the first half took a few listens in order to get into the feel of the songs and to separate them, from feeling a bit samey. As initially, we were beginning to wonder if the songs on the album were all going to sound quite similar, but then along came the lovely The Hardest Place To Find Me, which is one of the stand-out tracks from the album, as it has a strong acoustic and Americana/folk sound to it, which adds variety. That said, once the album picks up, we could happily listen to the songs over and over and there are some great songs on here.
Some of our preferred songs on the album include All I Need, which is full of melodic moments and some luscious vocals that blend in harmony with the vibe of the song. Shoot From The Lip has a sunny chorus to lift the album a little. Under and Over sounds like it is definitely going to be a sing a long live anthem and its energy, rapid drum beats and it has confidence stamped all over the track, that’s meant to be heard in an arena, rather than a tiny venue, it just had that large fill-a-huge space sound to it. Minute Mile started with a promising start, running away at high speed, before ending up feeling a bit flat. Heebie Geebies is purely influenced by the sound of iconic rock ‘n’ roll bands from the 1960’s and it sounds as if it would be a cover from a band in that era.
For us, the album is a mixed bag, with a lot of conflicting ideas and sounds. The album definitely sits in the indie-pop mould, but if you like albums and songs of that nature, then you really can’t go wrong with The Rifles latest offering.