Born Ruffians have successfully made an album with something for everyone: alternative listeners, indie-folk fans, rock lovers and a whole lot in between. Their third LP, ‘Birthmarks,’ released April 16 on Yep Roc Records, doesn’t fit the typical guitar/rock mold and that’s what keeps it fresh and relevant.
‘Birthmarks’ got its beginnings on a farm as the group sought an organic angle to their music rather than relying on a sterile space. This from their bio: “These songs — ‘Birthmarks’ — came out of a dusty living room in an old house, in between chopping wood and building bonfires, playing crokinole at the kitchen table, cooking family dinners and shooting beer cans with a bow and arrow. We’d wake up, head downstairs from our rooms, and write.”
They experiment with a range of elements, such as on ‘6-5000’ where they wrap a catchy guitar melody around a haunting voice, a booming drum and just ride it. Heavy bass contrasts nicely with acoustic and other light-footed sounds on this album. A heavy disco beat erupts on ‘Permanent Hesitation,’ a love song between two cheaters. The Ruffians can also sound like indie-rock veterans, as on ‘Ocean’s Deep’ and ‘Never Age.’ The band is upbeat and jubilant, even on ‘Dancing on the Edge of Our Graves,’ where guitarist and vocalist Luke Lalonde shows twinges of David Gray. He can be like a chameleon too, like on ‘Rage Flows.’ The brightness of ‘Needle’ hooks you in. The fuzzy feedback on ‘Too Soaked to Break’ proves the collaboration knows how to create brave new sound.
Dig it or Ditch it: Dig it