Abbey Road studios has housed legends of the music world, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Badfinger, but in this current day and age it is now home to a more eclectic and varied range of artists, including the well toured and increasingly popular band The Rifles. Their new album ‘The Rifles Unplugged Album’ is ‘one for the fans’ as the band cover an assortment of their classic tracks adding a twist here and there for good measure.
With elements of the band’s now familiar catchy choruses and imaginative storytelling, it still has that yester-year feeling that their audience demand, from the melodic sound of the guitar in ‘Out in the Past’ to the 30-strong fan choir in ‘Coming Home’. In a decade where new sounds are being explored, and re-invention is a word that seems to apply to almost every release, The Rifles have stuck to their guns and made use of the power of an acoustic album – and interestingly one that was created in a single take.
Serving as the next addition to the growing back catalogue this is a release for those who have grown with the band. The use of Abbey Road’s string quartet, accompanying the guitar and the weave of Joel Stoker and Lucas Crowther’s vocals, exposes the depth and vulnerability of the music. These are talented musicians and this ‘toe-dipping’ into the more gentle and calmer side of indie-rock faultlessly exposes a sound that feels natural and more importantly doesn’t damage the over-riding memory of the track in its original form. It is at times quite beautiful.
Some may suggest that this is album is somewhat of a ego trip – after all is this not a glorified covers album of sorts? However, and in its defence, this is no half-hearted attempt to sell more records – completely the opposite in fact. This album has the feel of a personal journey and a celebration of what has gone before. There is a fan choir that appears to be 30 strong and used on the latter tracks it exposes the album to linger in the minds of the listener – their involvement makes The Rifles seem like a friend, reinforced by the calming tracks on the album. This is particularly expressed in ‘Coming Home’, layering the fan base on top of the instrumental is the perfect melodic weave of sounds that manage to add texture rather than overpower.
The Rifles are touring the album and you can see them at one of the venues, below. ‘The Rifles Unplugged Album’ is out now.