The Rifles - The Great Escape

London’s The Rifles are probably the best mod band since The Jam and the three-year wait since their terrific debut No Love Lost was well worth it. While nothing here is quite as spectacular as the last album’s twin standouts “Local Boy” and “When I’m Alone,” overall, The Great Escape is a stronger record. Songs like the motivational title track, the unbelievably catchy “Fall To Sorrow,” and the absolutely crushing “Science In Violence,” are up there with anything in the Paul Weller songbook. Weller, in fact, is a huge fan of The Rifles. Like Weller and other legendary mod tunesmiths such as Pete Townshend and Ray Davies, Rifles frontman Joel Stoker does an exceptional job of capturing the emotions of the British ‘everyman’ as on the brilliant “Toerag.” Stoker also pens some pretty great personal narratives too, a prime example being the nostalgic “Out In The Past.” Throughout The Great Escape, the band is on fire. The Rifles create potent guitar pop of the highest order, each song containing amazing melodies and choruses that are impossible to get out of your head. It’s amazing that these guys still don’t have a US record deal. Hopefully that will change soon.

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