Friedrich Nietzsche might well have been right when he wrote â??That which does not kill us makes us stronger' and it's certainly an adage which can be applied to many bands. One thing for certain, though, is that it's never been truer than in the case of Chicago's Canadian Rifle, a band whose ten-year career has resulted in a relatively paltry number of releases accompanied by a number of personnel changes that have scuppered the continuity and momentum that bands often need to move forward.
Confirmation of Nietzsche's wise words is to be heard on Deep Ends, on which the trio offer up nine tracks of damn good songwriting, which on first listen passed me by a little but each time I revisited the album it was like something new had appeared, whether it be noticing the fact that the album flows really well with each song having a distinct life of its own, drum fills hidden slightly in the mix or just the well-structured songs that help provide that distinctiveness. That ability to make a listener hear something new on subsequent listens can never be ignored, as it displays a quality in how the band approach writing and making a record â?? sometimes it's good not to be able to discern everything at the outset, much like a long lasting relationship in which you can still find out new things about your partner after being together for a while.
Musically, I could easily throw a lazy Off With Their Heads comparison at you, or even tempt you by suggesting Dillinger Four provide an influence here and there, but Canadian Rifle stand out in their own right with a brand of punk which is melodic, powerful and redolent with a rich, warm feel that belies some of the bleakness that comes through in the lyrics. All of this comes together to highlight a band who finally seem to have hit upon a bit of stability and with it, the ability to sound good on vinyl. With the opening track "Withdrawal," it's almost as if they can't wait to get the whole thing going as they rush headlong into one of the most striking tracks on the album, featuring some great gruff vocals (including backing vox) and a real impression of energy. From there on in, Canadian Rifle mix it up from the UK82-sounding bass intro of "Pleasant Relief" through to the thunderous "Lock Yourself In The Bathroom" and ending with the more cacophonous "Going To Get Fucked Up When You Die" which brings Deep Ends to a more than satisfactory close, as it has a celebratory feel to it despite the song title not exactly pointing in that direction.
This is the second release from Canadian Rifle in 2013, which adds to the sense that there is an impetus to be found, at least for now, within the band and for that we should be grateful because this is definitely a record which is knocking on the door of my top ten of the year.