The Rifles None the Wiser
None the Wiser is the fourth studio effort from favourites of the indie alternative scene, The Rifles. After eight years, The Rifles have secured a very loyal fan base and can boast critical acclaim from the likes of Zane Lowe. All of this support and experience has been impeccably transposed into None the Wiser, an album which confidently exhibits a progression and a sense of understanding what they’re about and what the fans want and need.
With this album The Rifles seem to empathise with some of their audience’s deepest feelings, memories and regrets, consulting themes of misspent youth, affairs of the heart and rejection. We open with Minute Mile, a superbly crafted indie rock love song. Minute Mile is in possession of a great get-on-your-feet-and-dance bass line, complimented by a hopeful riff, yet the lyrics are bittersweet. This contrasting combination leaves the disheartened encouraged, just the way that any broken heart wants to be reassured. Next, we kick into the irresistible Heebie Jeebies, once again, it is laced with a cheeky and loveable lead riff, making it impossible not to click fingers and shake shoulders!
The delight continues with Go Lucky and All I Need. With this succession of tracks, you get the feel that The Rifles are there just for you, you won’t be able to help placing your trust in them with their consistent guitar arrangements, positive and warming melodies and words of indisputable wisdom. Reaching the midpoint of None the Wiser, you will undoubtedly realise that you’ve been carried back to your youth, a time when every note said something to you, and every word sung sympathised with your situation. You Win Some is the utter realisation of this, a gentle yet not woeful report of a love lost, but a hope for a repairable heart rendered.
Through the second half of the album this mood is maintained, by now, we are at a point of comfort and appreciation with the band; the last half of the album does not necessarily step up, but it does not drop off either, meaning that it is nothing less than thoroughly enjoyable. To end with, Under and Over is a real uplifting gem which could reverse even the most severe of frowns. The Rifles round off and tie up all the loose ends of the album with endearment; the choral piece is too charming to disregard and once again, the air the song is enticing and optimistic, sailing us out on a smile. Don’t be fooled by the end of Under and Over however, once you think it’s over, hold out a little longer for a hidden treat…
Overall, None the Wiser is an amiable and engaging album. It may not be show stopping or ground breaking, but it will make you get up, have a dance and laugh at the memories and moments that the themes of the album inevitably remind you of. If The Rifles could push their boundaries just a little more, you get the sense that they could champion the indie spectrum in the style of Maximo Park or The Courteeners, but for now None the Wiser is a treat.