Despite their relatively short tenure within rock'n'roll The Rifles exude the self-contained air of a band that have been inspired by the street-level perceptions that characterize one of British pop's most vital bloodlines from The Kinks to The Smiths to The Streets. That's not all. Fuelled by a bleak London wit and a cinematic vision which takes in everything from 'Nil By Mouth' to 'The Warriors' ('We're gonna come on stage to the theme music!' beams Luke) their adrenalised assault is, well, double barreled.
Luke and singer Joel Stoker - imagine a young Paul Weller scripted by Mike Leigh - spent their days gravitating between Walthamstow (Joel and bassist Rob Pyne) and Kentish Town (Luke) before meeting like-minded Grant Marsh. A native of Chingford and resident DJ at his own club night 'Slash', ran in the shadow of Christ Church Spitalfields. The die was cast.
'Seeing Oasis at Knebworth,' explains affable Rifles guitarist Luke Crowther, an immaculate dandy accessorized by shades and an ivory silk scarf. '...was a life changing moment, the inspiration and excitement it created, they seemed to have the power to draw the audience in with the emotional resonance that I hadn't experienced before. From that moment on we knew we had to start a band.'
The intensity burns bright in the world of The Rifles as Joel enthuses 'From that point on we were The Rifles.the name just seemed to fit. We wanted something direct.'
Fully formed, the band played the first Rifles gig at the Bull & Gate in January 2004 to a capacity crowd. News spread of these savvy young urbanites with NME quickly describing The Rifles as 'the first band with a London postcode worth tattooing on your heart for ages' and Zane Lowe enthusing over their debut single on Radio One. The band soon began to build an army of likeminded fans, keen to immerse themselves in their tales of London life and witness their incendiary live performances in smokey pubs on dark winter nights.
Just a few weeks after their latest single 'Local Boy' crashed into the top 40, The Rifles are in the studio recording their debut album in the trusty hands of production legend Ian Broudie (Subways, Zutons, Coral). Inspired by life in the City, rumours abound that we could be looking at an album to rival other capital classics - like The Specials - 'Two Tone' rewritten for the noughties or The Streets 'Original Pirate Material'' delivered over guitars.
With their sharp vocals, wry lyricism and pithy melodies The Rifles evoke a mood, a feeling and a place we all want to be and return to again.
The Rifles: their aim is true.
Paul Moody - November 2005