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The National Rifle
Man Full Of Trouble
(self-released)
www.thenationalrifle.com


Taking a page from the notebook of larger artists, The National Rifle has recently decided to forego the traditional way of album release, for the EP version. And as a follow up to their last EP Wage Life, the band has given us a new place for fun with Man Full Of Trouble.

With the opening track "It's Just Whiskey, Mama" there's a pleasant mixture of guitars and electronic effects throughout. However, the layer of vocals on top, almost seem to muck it all up and feels a bit too forced. In "Love Crack" the vocals fit a little better than on the previous song and with this one they take the level down to that of nearly a ballad. But this ballad is high on something once that gnarling guitar kicks off the chorus. With "Bad News From The District" you've got an extremely addictive melody that inevitably causes some foot-tapping right from the get go. For this number everything fits, from the lyrics, to the back up harmonies and even the slight hint of piano. The general feeling of the song puts me back to a version of pop punk that could have been seen around the 80s or so. The final stop on this newest EP is "Big Units." The music underneath the vocals is full of promise and includes a good variety of instruments. However, yet again the method in which the vocals are done, takes away from the song. They're practically yelled and show a lack of pitch, which granted can sometimes work. However with the complexity and precision of music being played, one would need vocals that are up to the same par. In the end though; the woodwind additional is quite enjoyable.

For this EP it feels as though the band may have not only taken a page from the notebook of larger (and previous) artists, but taken everything literally; it seems verbatim how a pop punk record should be made, yet perhaps this music was not meant for that genre. There is a definite showing of talent and hope for a slightly more refined 3rd EP.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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