Album Review: The Rifles – The Rifles Unplugged Album: Recorded at Abbey Road Studios
There’s an increasing trend of bands taking their show on tour acoustically from Simple Minds to Status Quo and beyond. But not so often is it indie-rock bands, although recently Tom Clarke of The Enemy did and now it’s The Rifles turn. But not just touring though, they’ve taken 15 of their best tracks to Abbey Road Studios, added a string orchestra and a 30-piece fan choir and turned it into a mammoth collection of stripped back indie-rock tunes.
Turning pre-loved tracks into acoustic songs can go one of two ways, ending up absolutely awful or giving them a new lease of life. For The Rifles, they’ve been lucky and it’s done the latter for the most part and they’ve reborn tracks which are a breath of fresh air whether you’re a previous The Rifles fan or not.
The effortless vocals of Joel Stoker joined by the relaxed strumming of guitars and the fragileness that the strings add almost gives the tracks a whole new meaning. Although despite how good it sounds, it does take the well-loved energy out of The Rifles tracks, such as ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘The General’, but replaces it with a melancholy, laid back feel instead.
The acoustic album shows how diverse and forward thinking a band The Rifles actually are. I wouldn’t want to see this as a permanent move for the band, which I think would be unlikely, but it’s a purposeful move which could open up a whole load of possibilities for them, writing-wise in the future.