Saturday, 25 January 2014

Flynndie Reviews: #42 The Rifles - None the Wiser

Written 25th January 2014

The Rifles – None the Wiser

The Band: Joel Stoker (lead vocals\guitar), Luke Crowther (guitar\vocals), Rob Pyne (bass), Grant Marsh (drums)

Today’s review sees the return of Chingford’s finest, The Rifles, with this their 4th album ‘None the Wiser’.  Arriving on the scene back in 2005 the band released their excellent debut album ‘No Love Lost’ in 2006 to critical reception, a classic album packed full of massive Indie Mod-rock anthems which still sound great today.  This was later followed by 2009’s ‘The Great Escape’ another fantastic record by the band, again packed with more great and instant power-pop guitar tracks and perhaps showed even more mature song-writing than their debut album.  2011 saw the band release their 3rd album ‘Freedom Run’, another solid album to add to the band’s ever-growing back catalogue, albeit without original rhythm section Rob on bass and Grant on drums.  However, the band have now come full-circle as these two members return forming The Rifles original line up, alongside Joel and Luke of course, on this their latest offering.

None the Wiser

1.Minute Mile
2. Heebie Jeebies
3. Go Lucky
4. All I Need
5. You Win Some
6. Catch Her In The Rye
7. The Hardest Place To Find Me
8. Shoot From The Lip
9. Eclectic Eccentric
10. Under And Over

Opening with up-tempo percussion and a catchy guitar-riff at its heart, ‘Minute Mile’, a track the band has previously given early previews with on Twitter, sees them in instantly familiar territory with percussion and guitars driving the track verses along before a large sing-a-along chorus “But it’s hard to find the words to say/And it’s hard to know if you’re feeling the way that I feel/The little things you don’t realise/Are the things that let me know you could only be mine”.  The track has a confident swagger about itself and lays down a good foundation for the rest of the record.  Meanwhile ‘Heebie Jeebies’, the first song the band released from the album, is pure power-pop and a jolly romp of a track.  A more rocky and catchy affair, the lyrics are easily accessible and portray the feeling of the morning after a heavy night out “I got the Heebie Jeebies early in the morning/I got the shaky knees, the fear’s come a-calling/When I feel the blood running through my veins/Right down from my toes to my belly and brain”.  This second track is a familiar Rifles-type anthem, very much in the style of their songs from their debut album ‘No Love Lost’ and a great track to get ready to for going out at the weekend!

‘Go Lucky’ follows and sees the band initially open with a punk-rock drum-riff before featuring a very nice guitar solo.  The whole rhythm and melody to this track are very bright and up-beat, with a retro style and this is a real up-lifting, feel-good track the like of which the band have an effortless knack for writing.  Continuing with the up-lifting vibe ‘All I Need’ again is very up-beat and chirpy, featuring a nice rhythm and guitar-hook at its core accompanied by a charming harmonica throughout, the track has somewhat of a bluesy feel to it and will certainly help brighten up these cold winter days.   Fifth track ‘You Win Some’ is a more chilled and mellow sound, with a distinctly picked guitar-riff backed with organ keys and shimmering percussion flowing through it, featuring a nice poignant chorus midway through it “Yesterday is over and it won’t be back again/But there’s beauty in tomorrow if it means that I can change”.  Overall it’s a calm, relaxing track.  ‘Catch her in the Rye’ has a funky Mod guitar-riff at its heart, with steady verses before a nice bridge “Cause there’s a million things you missed at school/There’s a million and one like you” before another big chorus “So catch her she’s in the rye/And I don’t care what you do like” it’s a charming track much in the vein of ‘She’s Electric’ by Oasis with a dreamy closing to it.

  • The Rifles stormed through a set at The Forum, London back in November 
‘The Hardest Place to Find Me’ is a stripped-down acoustic track, with a hazy, summery vibe backed with tambourines while featuring a nice chorus “I took the pages of my life and then I tore that book apart/And on every single line I see the hardest place to find is in my heart”.  The acoustic, folk-like sound continues for the first-half of the track, before picking up with upbeat electric guitars and percussion during its second-half giving the song a much fuller feel.  With initially more slow-tempo verses ‘Shoot from the Lip’ is playfully nudged along with a one-two rhythm and percussion pulsing this track along with backing guitar strums and beautiful string sections in its second-half.  The verses really flirt with the listener “But nothing quite says it like a four lettered word/So we shoot from the lip with a loaded tongue”. 

With more bluesy-rock ‘Eclectic Eccentric’, a tongue-twister of a track title in itself, continues the jolly, upbeat vibe of this record and sees the harmonica make its second appearance on the album and is another foot-stomping, romper of a track with a feel-good vibe.  Album closer ‘Under and Over’ sees a picked acoustic riff and some clapped percussion, before a full-throttle chorus “Water keeps on rolling/Under and Over/Around we keeping on trying/Any which way that we can make a living”.  This a large-sounding, epic track at around 7-minutes and finishes an already strong album on a real high.

In my opinion ‘None the Wiser’ sees a band that have consistently written good albums and some great anthems with their singles, really at the top of their game!  Every track on this record is strong easy-listening, with some great melodies, tight rhythms and percussion and featuring some thought-provoking, well-written lyrics throughout.  For a band that has somewhat unfairly been labelled a ‘cult-band’ in the past, I would recommend to give this record a listen as this may finally be the time The Rifles get some well-deserved recognition and sees big things for them.  ‘None the Wiser’ is a fantastic record and I can see me having this on repeat for some time in the near future so therefore I’m going to award it 9 Heebie Jeebies out of 10 and say that The Rifles have already set the bar high for 2014!  

Go Lucky

Track 1 ‘Minute Mile’

Track 2 ‘Heebie Jeebies’   

Track 5 ‘You Win Some’

Band website:      

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