Newbury pop-punk band The Rift return with their sophomore album 'Aftershock', another engaging collection of poppy, punky tunes following on from their debut 2019 album 'Ready To Go'. Formed a while ago now, the three piece - Chris Smith on bass and lead vocals, Chas Roberts on guitar and Des Roberts on drums - stick close to The Clash / Ramones / Stiff Little Fingers influences they have obviously had since a young age, but as these influences suggests, this leads to an album of twelve sparky, energetic tunes guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. With no song hitting the four minute mark, the album never outstays its welcome and passes by in an enjoyable, tuneful forty minutes or so.
Opener 'Nightbreed' kicks things off in typical style - catchy tune, punky overtones and plenty of 'oomph', but throughout the album there are varied touches to stop the record being just twelve pop-punk 'charges' - plenty of 50s style backing vocals (see 'Baby' where they flourish behind The Ramones style 'chug'), the acoustic opening to 'Yearning' which then turns into another power-pop, punky toe-tapper, the rattling bass throughout 'No Sleep' and the unashamedly rock 'n' roll influenced 'Do The Jive' with Jerry Lee Lewis style piano and Chuck Berry influenced guitar licks. There are indeed plenty of nifty guitar solos - check out 'To Be Near You' - and the rhythm section of Smith and Roberts always keep the pace sprightly and limber and it's good to see the band prioritising melody over noise within the punk sphere. They can 'rock out' to fine effect too as 'Mile High', 'Going Down' (which first brought to mind AC/DC's 'Rocker') and the forceful album closer '20/20 Vision' proves.
'Aftershock' possesses plenty of good-natured, melodic tunes mixed with energy and verve and should appeal to power-pop and pop-punk fans all over. Twelve songs that bear repeated listens show the band to be at the top of their game and these songs should translate exceedingly well to the live stage, where I gather The Rift excel. A great, likeable, confident album!
'Aftershock' is available now on all the major streaming sites and CD copies are available from the band - https://www.facebook.com/theriftUK/
The band play an album launch gig at 'The Lion' in Newbury this Friday - 26th January 2024.