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The National Rifle

Wage Life

(Self-released; US: May 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Where else in America could the National Rifle hail from other than Philadelphia, home of Rocky Balboa, the Continental Congress, and the Broad Street Bullies? Their curt brand of power-punk sweats like a plucky boxer, snarls like a veteran defenseman with a broken nose, and swills beer with Ben Franklin’s philosophic certainty. All of this is on display on the National Rifle’s self-released EP Wage Life, as well as a hearty helping or two of Clash-style branching-out. Frantic keys shriek through out a solo in “Gay Rock n’ Roll”, “Crustache” begins with goose-stepping synths, and infectious highlight “Girls at the Clinic” has wacky three-part harmonies colliding with even wackier horn bleats. The National Rifle evades pigeonholing with bratty dexterity. “Now you’re a bitch to your pension plan”, the poor rubes at home are told, but these guys are nobody’s bitch.

Rating:

Ross Langager has been contributing music reviews to PopMatters since early 2008. He has a BA (Honors) in English and a MA in English, both from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. He also writes a blog at http://rosslangager.com/ .


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