East London 4 piece The Rifles, longtime Merc favourites released their 5th studio Album "Big Life" earlier this month, which already had been a regular on our playlist.

Comprising of Joel Stocker (vocals/Guitar) Luke Crowther (Guitar/Vocals) , Rob Pyne (Bass) and Grant Marsh (drums) the lads have constantly and criminally been overlooked by the media and radio - yet maintain a fanatically loyal following, continue to sell out shows up and down the country and are always more than pleased to interact with their fans.

A band with a strong Indie/Mod following, Big Life is a departure from some of their previous output, showing that these are songs written from a very different place to the young lads who exploded onto the scene years ago.

Definitely the bands most mature work yet, it's a double (18 track) album that showcases the bands ability to craft simple observationally written tunes, catchy riffs and choruses that stick in the listeners head.

Big Life is very different from earlier material such as the fast paced "No Love Lost" or the anthem packed "The Great Escape" but make no mistake, The Rifles are a band who stick to their influences whilst maturing as artists and performers. 

From the opening track "Groundhog Day" telling of everyday life in another "lonely dead end town" it's an album that gets better with each play. Songs such as "Caught in the summer rain" "Johnny was a friend of mine" and "Motorway" are ear worms of the highest order, and immediately grab the listeners attention.

Slick musicianship and harmonies are set amongst songs that showcase the bands ability to simply just write a great song.

Standout tracks include "Wall Around Your Heart", the harmonious "Victoria" , "Turtle Dove" and the Ska inspired first single "Numero Uno", which all serve to also highlight the bands talent and versatility.

This is Great British Songwriting done very, very well. 

Big Life is an album that sits perfectly in the Rifles collection, and as a band with a phenomenal live reputation, these are songs that will sit seamlessly into the sing-along sets that will be hitting the road this October.

Highly recommended.

Words by Richie Kyle