The Rifles burst onto the UK music scene in 2006 with their attitude-laden debut ‘NoLove Lost’. They spent the next two years touring relentlessly and building anenormous army of fans along the way, including some of their musical heroes like Paul Weller (who guests on ‘Sweetest Thing’) and Oasis. The Rifles released their second album (and Stateside debut) ‘Great Escape’ in 2009 and third album‘Freedom Run’ in 2011.
Two years and six months ago when their fourth album ‘None the Wiser‘ arrived, the band spoke of how – after the more serene, lush, different sounding ‘Freedom Run’ (2011) – they had “started to miss that original Rifles sound a lot”: hence the inclusion of a clutch of new tunes in what you might term the classic mould. But looking back at that record, even with that mindset, ‘None The Wiser’ was also full of adventure, evident in the likes of ‘You Win Some’ and the closing eight minute epic ‘Under And Over’. Even when they are going back to basics, it seems, The Rifles can’t help but move forward.
And that is very much the spirit in which The Rifles are continuing, and in which their new record is anchored. You only have to glance at the tracklist to notice this. Because in an era in which we are repeatedly told that the album is dying, ‘Big Life’ is a not just an album, but a double album of four sides and eighteen songs. And the reason for this is simple.
There can’t be many other bands in the UK with as fervent a fanbase as The Rifles. They can still play, 12 years after they formed, to thousands of people in plenty of towns all over the country. They’re still not on the radio, they’re still not all over magazines, and yet they continue to be more adored than many other younger bands who are. And it is the trust that their audience has in them which inspires them to do things like ‘Big Life’: an expansive, incredibly varied record – or two records – that is the sound of a band at the absolute peak of their creativity.