The Rifleman - Don't Laugh, This is Serious (Cover Artwork)

The Rifleman

Don't Laugh, This is Serious (2019)

Geykido comet records

What is the definition of a hootenanny? I don’t know but I’m pretty sure that you’d find Vegas Folk Punks The Rifleman there, and they’d probably be the ones leading the upbeat bluegrass and country inspired punk rock.

Their newest EP Don’t Laugh, This is Serious blazes out with the first track “This is Anarchy”, and you know right away the rest of this EP is going to be a blast to listen to. The chorus is so much fun, and has you singing along, whether you’ve ever heard the album/song before. “What do you do? / Now, What do you do? / When the bad men are coming for you?” sings like a pop-punk song, written over more traditional Folk instrumentation. The guitars, while not mind-blowing throughout, have certain spots where they shine, and break from the fairly repetitive sing-along song.

Following this very fun beginning, comes the more in your face (lyrically speaking) “Break your Face”. This song, based solely on its music, reminds me of my summers with my extended family in Tennessee, where everyone played Folk/Bluegrass, but when you dig a bit deeper, you find that punk spirit through the intelligent, and almost angry, lyrics, unlike the traditional songs I would listen to in Tennessee. Here, the guitars,in fact all of the instrumentation plays an even bigger role, expands upon their fun with well written music to follow.

My favorite track “The Ballad of the Cornered Bear” (while I wouldn’t consider a ballad), has that element of darkness that seems to draw me to this genre. It tells a beautiful story, with strings emote sadness, while the melody still allows the listener to bob their head, and have fun, despite a darker tone. This has to be a hard feat to accomplish, as it is the definition of antimony: two contradictory ideas existing simultaneously, like the idea of free will whilst God has already planned everything for everyone. Its funny that this is how I make the comparison of my favorite track,as there is a bit of religious element to the song.

While The RIfleman have yet to make a real name for themselves, this EP is definitely a good start, and I’m very interested to see where this band takes it. I could see them moving more towards the expanding Americana scene, but I’d much prefer they tap into their punk undertones, and maybe even give their very clean lyrics a bit of grit and growl on whatever they record next. Either way, this is definitely a band I’ll be following to see what comes next.