Oooo this shimmers, glitters and gapes with the yawning hole of shiny mediocrity. What’s-a-happening, there’s a black hole** in one of the biggest music cities on this planet and it’s sucking the point out of everything; or at least sucking everything to a point where the urgent need to do something all your own seems to have been lost. The Rifles must have been kicking back waiting their turn while Oasis ransacked the mod revival for ‘inspiration’; ‘cept they’ve skipped the initial crime-spree kicks and bad-drug adrenaline rush of 'Definitely Maybe' and jumped straight to the jaded nonsense of that awful fourth album.
‘When I’m Alone’ creeps warily between Billy Bragg’s bewildered working man's brogue and the glistening guitar waves of My Vitriol, but treads carefully enough not to awaken either of them. The melody and sentiment, (this song is their take on the cat and mouse confessional), is decent enough, but ‘decent’ has been hanging round long enough these past 30 years and I’m bored of it.
Such blatant revivalism absolutely needs to pack a punch; not just transport you back to a place that by now has invariably become caricatured anyway, but to contain enough conviction to be relevant today. Does it take you back to the days when London swung to the R’n’beats of the Merton Parkas? No, me neither, because a)_ my eardrums did not exist in 1979 and _b) no-one remembers the Merton Parkas BECAUSE THEY SOUNDED EXACTLY THE SAME as every other jumping Johnny in a zoot suit; destined to watch as every iPod metro-retro skips over their musical burial site on some mod comp in a rush to get to ‘My Generation’. Standing without the past’s protection, it’s too lacklustre to get me excited. Standing on the shoulders of giants may have been fine the first time round, but now the giant’s dead; and there’s nothing the Rifles can do about it.