Although largely unknown outside their native Philadelphia, The National Rifle have enlisted a couple of Grammy-nominated producers for their latest album. It shows too, as ‘Almost Endless’ shimmers with fairy dust. Yet it must be stressed that the songs on here deserve that extra dose of magic since this band are clearly a fine set of musicians equipped with knack for writing infectious tunes.
‘Coke Beat’ arrives on a dreamy wash of synth melody. It’s an excellent start helmed by band leader Hugh Morretta, relentless drumming, squalling guitars and some background cooing from keyboard player Lynna Stancato. ‘Young In The Future’ follows a not dissimilar formula but here the chorus is wordless and importantly, no less hooky. Next, ‘Glass Line’ positions Stancato to the forefront; lending her soothing vocals and keys to a track which wonderfully recalls acts like The Wake on the melancholic verses, although the chorus is strident and cheery.
‘Almost Endless’ does actually sound like a collection of nine indie pop singles but on a record which is generally strong on vocal performance, the falsetto which leads out the title track seems like a mistake until the song ascends into its dizzying shoegaze melody and everything makes sense again. Elsewhere, early 1980’s synth sounds are joyfully revived for ‘So Real’ and ‘Back To Nature’ whilst ‘Visuals’ and ‘Street Burn’ (for the latter Morretta resembles a youthful Ricky Ross) head for guitar pop euphoria.
As much as ‘Almost Endless’ sounds like the work of a quartet of a young people in thrall to their passion for 1980’s synths and infectious guitar pop, they are right on the money when it comes to making catchy music. Indeed, there’s not actually an average track on ‘Almost Endless’. So, in conclusion, The National Rifle are a great little indie pop band who have the potential to be an even bigger little indie pop band.
The Wake, New Order