Album: Honeyden (2020)
Artist: The Rifle
Label: Burger Records
Non-Airable Tracks: None
The Rifle, based in Tucson, Arizona, returns for their third collection of songs, this time an LP with 10 tracks and a run time of 32 minutes. Despite the relatively short run time, the narrative fits snugly with the beautiful instrumental breaks. Throughout the album, the speaker’s self-confidence grows in her ability to leave a toxic relationship, eventually leading her to blissful freedom.
The lyrics, delivered by Nelene Deguzman’s melodic voice, are concise yet conjure colorful imagery and communicate the speaker’s emotion well. The instruments, especially the percussion, are crisp and, even when complex, never become muddled in the mix. A nice variety of guitars, keys, and percussion are employed, causing each song to have a unique, memorable sound. The drums on certain songs are notably impressive, especially the outro of “Seventeen Stings.” There are still notes of their desert-rock roots scattered around this album, but they are not the main instrumental motif present in this LP.
The sonic setting is very well established in the intro “Starlings” by a collection of beautiful strings and guitars, creating a dream-like, comfortable environment to lead the thoughts of the speaker in the following track “Dyads”. The speaker’s confidence in herself swells and shrivels at different points in the album, but eventually, she decides finally that she doesn’t care anymore if her significant other wants to leave her. This final change of her mind appears in the track “Visitation”, which scores the battle of their wills with an old-western style guitar and beautiful backing vocals. The final track, “Paving”, displays the speaker’s newfound freedom and self-confidence against an energetic bongo-filled drum line that leaves the album on an upswing of emotion and hope for the future.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. I listened to it twice, back to back, in one sitting, which is very unusual for me. The instrumentals remind me of everything from relaxing in a Zen garden to riding in the back of a car in the 70’s listening to the morning radio. Personally, I know I will return to Honeyden again, as the tracks are good on their own, and all together they create an interesting story. I recommend that you give this album a listen, and if you do, sit back, relax, and let The Rifle take you on a groovy, floaty ride.
*Note: The album is releasing on 1/31/2020*
TL;DR: This album is a great vibe album, with fantastic, floaty instrumentals, paired with lyrics that deliver interesting imagery and a compelling narrative. In the scape of modern popular music, and specifically rock, this album feels unique, and I think it deserves one solid listen by anyone who likes groovy rock.
Sounds Like: Masana Temples by Kikagaku Moyo / Still Loving You by Twilight / Raw Honey by Drugdealer
Reviewer’s Name: Ben Carpenter
Date of Review: 1/27/2020