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08/01/2012 The Rifles - Freedom Run Review
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|The Rifles - Freedom Run Review|
|08-01-2012 10:18 | 0 comment(s)|
| It's not often that you're so blown away by the release of an album that you're left speechless for a while. In fact, when you're me, it's not often that you're left speechless at all. It's not that this is the best album since sliced bread, nor the most original but it is surprising for the band who have made it. I know that in recent times The Rifles have regrouped somewhat. When that occurs, changes are bound to happen, as fresh ideas get put forward and the band's sound and style progresses. Having said that, I can't quite think of an example that has quite done what The Rifles have done. I've been listening to this album on and off for two weeks now and I'm still a little bit befuddled as how a band who usually churn out slices of mod pop pie have produced this. Not that I wouldn't think them capable, far from it, they have always demonstrated a strong musical and lyrical ability, but they have always stayed to their Mod roots. Freedom Run pushes the fast forward button on that sound considerably, bringing it kicking and screaming into 2011. There will be some fans no doubt that will not be happy with this new sound. It is very indie, very pop and lacking in some of the, well how do I say this politely, arrogance perhaps, that some of their previous songs have peddled.
Perhaps I should rephrase what I've said about the band being brought kicking and screaming into 2011. They have very much moved forward but they haven't changed who they are or who they are influenced by – this is no N Dubz album! The influences are still strong; a 60s vibe remains; harmonica, Hammond style organs and some very Beatles-esque melodies and riffs on tracks such as Everline and the stomping Love Is A Key. What is different is that laddish vibe, it's not really here. Freedom Run offers much more of a mature sound, with some softer lyrics, some softer vocals and gentler music in parts. It is in the complexity of the tracks and the production that it feels much more of a modern album than some of their past albums. Take a listen to the classic pop feel of their latest single Tangled Up In Love. Everything that is in this single is represented within the album as a whole, it really was the perfect choice to release first. It is one of the poppiest songs on the album though, along side the incredibly un-Rifles sounding Sweetest Thing (have they been hanging out with The Delays?). and then there's the final track Cry Baby, which is also very upbeat pop.
There are elements of the "old" Rifles present still don't be alarmed and think I'm suggesting that they're all new sparkly pop stars. Parts of the vocal still have a little bit of rough around the edges, there's still a little bit of an attitude but this is a reasonably laid back album on the whole. There's less bouncing up and down and shouting and not quite so jingly jangly angular mod riffs. I think that their time spent touring some of their older material as acoustic rearrangements has had a bit of a profound effect on The Rifles. They have obviously taken this sound on board here and developed it. I never thought I'd hear the day when I'd listen to a song such as Nothing Matters, with it's beautifully written piano parts, stunning orchestral interjections and yet somehow with the vocal and percussion still feel that it was so right for this band.
Now that Oasis have called it a day and Liam is possibly making more money from his clothing line than he is his latest musical efforts, and Noel still yet to make a real dent in the gap they have created, I am left wondering if The Rifles haven't just come and smacked them both in the face a bit. Don't get me wrong, Noel has written some beautiful and amazing tracks and some real rock and roll stompers, but The Rifles are hot on their heals if you ask me. If they continue in this manner, well, who knows how far they will go, and after having already had a decent career to date too. They could release almost any of these tracks as stand alone single, with the exception of the Interlude, but I'd probably plump for Sweetest Thing, Love Is A Key or the wonderful I Get Low. I think that perhaps this album will split fan opinion, but I also know it will gain them a whole heap more fans than they might stand to lose. Freedom Run is probably the best album The Rifles have made, and I'm no longer speechless about it, I'm just flipping enjoying it.
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