by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel
September 4, 2010

A near-perfect hybrid of indie and punk might have found its way into my record collection.  What I hear actually sounds somewhat original, so it can’t be just indie.  It also doesn’t follow the “paint by number” esthetic—or ethic, for that matter—of punk rock music.  However, Vanity Press does have dance appeal, catchy, yet airy vocal harmonies, a multitude of instruments, and a dash of attitude with an unspoiled production value.

The National Rifle have taken a slightly unorthodox (yet, in my opinion, admirable) route of releasing EP’s and EP’s only.  Without a full length yet under their belt, their latest installment Vanity Press marks their fourth release since 2006’s self-titled inception.  In a world now, where incessant delivery of content is key, such a routine allows for continual digestion with little-to-no filler.  Though hard to say, it’d be my guess that filler probably isn’t their thing anyway.

The bleak lyric “His voice is still slurred, even when sober / wanting the thrill, but you’re older” is followed by an otherwise merry arrangement.  Jangly guitar, upbeat barroom piano, an engaging female background voice, and a ticking time-bomb-like percussion are its make-up.  Getting old never sounded so good as in “In The Weeds.”

“She’s A Waste” and “Jazz History of The World” both display their Clash meets ska-pop motif.  However, while Hugh’s (the group’s lead vocalist) voice does seem to remind of an English bloke (something I forever find questionable, from an American)—it soars a little further than ol’ Joe’s.   Though his voice certainly attributes to Press’ edge, it’s the piano—here—that rounds it off.  The clean exchange of electric and acoustic guitars also adds a nice rare change to the overall static guitar sound of the record.

Adding even more variety to Vanity, Lynna’s keys change to organ, then synth on the final cuts “Same Shit Different Desk” and “Too Much T.V,” respectively.  The bass wakes up, and drives the last song home. This time, Lynna’s voice, not so subtly backs things once again, taking away from its punchiness while sounding out of place.

The National Rifle seem to have what it takes to deliver a fun, edgy and quick output.  The mystery with a five song release (each time) is that it if does in fact satisfy, then is being left without needing more, good or bad?  Or, is quick and dirty, simply the point?

- Weasel Was Here

out of 5 weasels.

1. In the Weeds
2. She’s a Waste (FREE MP3)
3. Jazz History of the World
4. Same Shit Different Desk
5. Too Much T.V.

Vanity Press was released August 31, 2010

Visit The National Rifle online: thenationalrifle.com / myspace.com/thenationalrifle

Never trust a weasel. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing Vanity Press locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.

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