Album Review: The Rifles - 'Unplugged'

The Rifles might just be one of the most underrated bands in the UK.

There, it’s been said. No, they don’t sell out arenas, and no they don’t have 15 number one singles to their name. But if you critically examine each album they have produced, each one different in its own right, it is very difficult to fault them.

Their most recent works, the Unplugged album recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios, provides a never-seen-before stripped-back look at the band, providing us with a feel of these songs in their most original form. The result? Oddly effective.

My concern for this record was that if you asked fans of The Rifles what it is that contributes most to their liking of them, despite a smattering of good acoustic tracks over time (Rock the Boat, Spend a Lifetime etc), the go-to would ordinarily be their energetic, high-tempo brand of indie-rock which has made up much of each record they have released.

Yet this record is, in its own way, fantastic. It provides a new side to fan-favourites such as ‘Local Boy’ and ‘Romeo and Julie’ that would otherwise more than likely have remained unseen by the general public. The one new track on the record ‘In Key’, is very much of the same mould as other Rifles acoustic tracks previously mentioned, with distinctive vocals and simple yet effective chords.

It really is very difficult to give a proper overview of the album, with its contents being Rifles classics recorded in a new unique way. Therefore the best thing I can say here, is for every person who can, Rifles fan or not, to listen to it. They remain very underrated and very unknown on the music scene, yet are remarkably consistent and it seems even when they branch out into the acoustic world as they have with this ‘unplugged’ record, they can do no wrong. For chilled out, simple yet brilliant music, look no further than this record. They play the Rescue Rooms on the 23rd May, and it promises to be a memorable evening for all who attend. Who knows – you might just enjoy it.