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The Rifles are the largest infantry regiment in the British Army, which consists of five regular and two territorial battalions ......... Oh my mistake ...
...The Rifles are also an English Indie rock band. The band consist of ...
Joel Stoker - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Lucus Crowther - Backing Vocals, Guitar
Rob Pyne - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Grant Marsh - Drums, Percussion
Accompanied by: Ian Burdge (Cello) John Metcalfe, N Baw (Viola) Louise Fuller, Sally Herbert, Emlyn Singleton, Warren Zielinski (Violin) and Daniel Newell (Trumpet) ....
These four Londoners have a cult underground following, which sees them fill out venues such as the Brixton Academy and across London with ease, sadly yet to really hit the mainstream airwaves, which is of great surprise. Mentored and Inspired by Paul Weller, The Rifles, loosely resemble the Jam with such energetic guitar driven riffs, blended with catchy choruses and sing-along melodies. Their debut album 'No Love Lost' was released July 2006 and reached number 26 in the UK album charts ...
ALBUM - THE GREAT ESCAPE
Sophomore album 'The Great Escape' was released January 2009 earning a credible number 27 spot in the UK album charts, and an even more respectable number two-spot in the UK Indie charts. The name of the album was inspired from the same named Blur album, Indeed such lack of inspiration, meant the band pick names from a hat which entertained the whole Blur back catalogue. Four singles have been released off the album, Fall to Sorrow, The General, Romeo & Julie and The Great Escape, all of which have failed to chart ....
1. SCIENCE IN VIOLENCE (3:34)
Opening track, kicks of in violent fashion, no punches are thrown, or the threat of been glassed, but the charged explosive guitar riff catches you instantly, it's a speedy kick of rock, charged, tempered and explosive. It's in your face and never lets up, very reticent of 'The Jam' mainly due to Paul Weller's tutorage of the band. But also reminds me of Hard Fi and a little like Madness, in its' quirky nature. It's ever so catchy, the choruses as much as the verses have such a sing-a-long feel to them. Superb opening, that really makes you quite hyper and just want to get up and head band and shout to the top of your voice. 9/10
2 THE GREAT ESCAPE (3.26)
The Great Escape is the third single released of the album, the volume has been turned down slightly as we are introduced to a rolling drum line, which rolls into a staccato styled up and down riff, and laden with strings, cello, viola and violin to give this a slightly different mix, and shows some diversity in The Rifles sound. Still the arrangements are simple and you get to enjoy Joel Stoker's voice a little better. The chorus speeds up and is different grade, furore, passion, such distinction, I love it a real sing-along anthem, we calm down to some subtle handclapping and keyboards, which your generally doing yourself anyway air-style, until we drive back into the chorus again that really makes you want to jump up and act mad. Lyrically very appealing, some clever lyrics, again sounds a lot like the Clash or The Jam, brilliant, and a fantastic start to the album. 9/10
3 FALL TO SORROW (2.44)
Fall to Sorrow is the first single released of the album, the B-side 'Lazy Bones' appears as a secret track on the album. Kicks off with bouncy bass riffs, with some chanting harmonies over lapping, until the riff kicks in again at a higher temper. Again it's a feverish tempo that keeps building, your toes cannot fail to tap, unless your half dead and then I still think you could muster something. Backing harmonies follow the chorus line, however I think the verses that drives this track literally forward, it's proper Indie music at its best, but buoyant and enlightening. Really remind me of Madness mixed with Hard Fi, superb all the way through so engaging. 8/10
4 SOMETIMES (3.49)
'So far away from me to see / When no relief is at the door terminally / I've no intention to sing a sad song / But everything I wanna say never felt so wrong'. Sometimes continues where the last finished, feverish Indie-rock that just heads in the same direction straight in your face, basic sounds of energetic driven guitar riffs with a steady basic drum line and Suggs styled tones, however, it really generates some passion and drive, one of my favourites with good use of percussion and overlapping backing vocals. The chorus rarely stands out as the premise is largely the same throughout, just the vocals change marginally. Another track that can really lift the spirits, and will have you playing air something, whilst stomping your feet 9/10
5 TOE RAG (3.53)
Toe rag is a little more sombre with an acoustic style feel to the intro, it's slow, meandering and thoughtful as Stoker gets the chance to choice him arm in this lyrical masterpiece 'Walk out of the door and make my way up the street / Cold wind in my eyes runs a tear down my cheek / Not a soul to be heard so no point to complain / At least the sound of the birds compensates for the rain'. The shift in tension and speed lightens the mood temporarily and gives the ears a little release. Having said that it does gather a storm with the electric riff towards the end, some throbbing engaging bass makes this a delight, quite passionate and heartfelt. Mixes the album up a little bit, but the storming electric guitar fizzing finishes blends all the tracks into the same mix up. You may recognise this track as it often appeared in the third series of Gavin and Stacey. 9/10
6 HISTORY (3.21)
My favourite of the album, reminiscing of past relationships 'Cause days alone they roll into a week / I won't get away when you fall down at my feet / And I'm happy with sweet memories / So why would I wanna go and make more history'. Booming bass and easy drum line kick us in, to Stoker's Sugg's sounding tones. It's a gentle; slow opening, almost thoughtful and endearing singing. As we kick on, the throbbing clock sounding glitchy riffs, and subtle booming bass support the tones beautifully. Overlapping guitars start to race as the chorus enters and the tones surge into shouting, almost chanting, reminiscent of football chanting maybe, to a hollow glazy riff! The ticking riffs kick back in, to the thunderous bass, as Stoker's gentle raw tones are once more subtle and meandering. The chorus is just different grade, simply awesome! It's driven Indie rock at it's best, feverish, alive and brutal. 10/10
7 WINTER CALLS (3.44)
Another track that features largely in the third series of Gavin and Stacey, it's fits well really as they are the archetypal Londoners. Winter Calls has an electro pulse feel, it's a love song that starts with a spangly acoustic intro very reminiscent of The Coral and kettledrums, it's a dance, hand clapping sing-along. It's electro staccato riff, and bouncy melodies are quite pretty, almost joyous. Catchy chorus, that rattles along at a fairly fast pace, good use of pretty strings and percussion gives this a light happy theme. Not one of my favourites it's a little repetitive and not as feverish as the majority of the album, still it's packs a punch, quality. 6/10
8 OUT IN THE PAST (4.28)
Again looking back on better times 'This little town hasn't changed so much not since the time of night were we would lay out and talk but we couldn't be touched then you'd go away when the morning was light / But sure enough we had to grow up and there's nothing like a full time job to put out your fire we were young and wasn't in love but maybe we were happy getting carried away'. A long intro that's almost hollow, as the eerie riff that's driven miles away from the speakers, gradually draws closer, to some gentle sprightly percussion and overlapping feverish fast drum lines. It builds and builds to a furore of sound until well over a minute in we calm down temporarily to the tones of Stoker, the enigmatic riff picks back up, it's simple arrangement, catchy melody and tight chorus makes this extremely appealing. The shift in tones adds extra to an already typically British Mod rocking Indie sound. It's ever so catchy, you cannot fail to like this, another corker. 9/10
9 ROMEO & JULIE (3.08)
Romeo and Julie is a love song and the second single released of the album, it's also featured on Gavin and Stacey and you may also recognise it from the background music to last years Football focus, and promoting the daytime line up for Channel four. Probably the weakest track of the album, it bounces along with a simple melody, but lacks a little character feels a little like 80s Ska music. 5/10
10. THE GENERAL (4.46)
The General inspired by the legend that is Mike Tyson was released as a double A-side single along with Romeo & Julie. Also used as backing music on Sky Sports football show 'Netbusters' It's intense and chaotic, with an awesome sing-along melody. Overlapping racing guitar riffs take us out on a minute long intro, that blends into a sumptuous Trumpet and strings section, the intensity increases once more as we link into the first verse, feverish singing, buoyed by a violent drum line, accompanied by background violins and trumpets gives distinction. The upbeat fiery tempo continues relentlessly, the chorus just changes chord but continues with such velocity and intensity. The Cello and Viola become more apparent towards the end as the arrangement becomes a little more mixed and complex with solos', instrumentals and key changes, awesome! 9/10
11. FOR THE MEANTIME (2.28)
Final track For the Meantine opens with a much slower more meaningful ditty, Beatle-esque type melody, that's laden with strings, Cello, Viola, Violins and Trumpets, Stoker's pitch is very low key, and sombre, as he reflects over an acoustic slow strum. Classy finale and adds something different to the plethora of vicious, raucous sound before it. 6/10
The Great Escape is an album with little diversity; the premise of every song is fairly similar in its style and approach, however, what is does have is a wealth of likeability. Its charm is its buoyancy; the catchy choruses and sing-along melodies in each and every track that make you want to go crazy, and just sing or shout. However, added are subtle blends of strings, horns, trumpets and harmonicas, which just give extra bite and charisma to an already fantastic sound.
Its Indie rock music at its best, and unlike many of its contemporise, packed full of uncompromising energetic driven guitar rock riffs, strong dynamics, and filled with anthemic tracks that would inspire many a listener, it's retro rock at it's most feverish best.
Paul Weller largely inspires the Rifles, so you could liken their sound to The Jam, to the more punky sound of The Clash, other notable references would be the quirkiness of The Coral, to the passion of Hard Fi, and I'd personally liken the distinct precise tones of Stoker to that of Madness front man Suggs.
In my opinion the album as a concept is faultless, all eleven songs are precise, sharp and enjoyable, I'd say the tracks don't necessarily stand alone, but they really do pack an awesome punch, maybe the only failing is the lack of change, the sound is very repetitive. If I were to promote a single song, I'd recommend History, but Toe Rag, Sometimes and Science is Violence are all close behind on the likeability scale.
If you like any of the bands mentioned, or sing-along melodies and catch rhythms you would enjoy this, it has a mix of pop-punk-indie-rock sounds so enough for many to appreciate. Personally, it gives me a real uplifting experience, and puts me on a temporary high, which is what music should do! Highly recommended to be played as loud as possible ...
STEVE MCQUEEN, JAMES GARNER & CO HAVE NOTHING ON THESE - ENGLAND'S MOST ESCAPED BAND - THEY ARE GREAT!!!
Amazon Price : £7.93 or used and new from £3.84
Download album : £4.49 or single tracks from 69p each.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Science in Violence - 3.05
2 The Great Escape - 3.29
3 Fall To Sorrow - 2.46
4 Sometimes - 3.06
5 Toerag - 3.54
6 History - 3.22
7 Winter Calls - 3.43
8 Out in the Past - 4.29
9 Rome and Julie - 3.09
10 The General - 4.44
11 For The Meantime - 2.30