March 3, 2008

Pretty Excited About | Born Ruffians

Most of my office day meshed with Born Ruffians' first full length LP. Almost 2 years ago, this band got all sorts of love for a six song disc that featured the neurotic marvel, "This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life". Now I suppose they could have cranked out the full album while they had momentum. But they didn't. They toured with acts like Hot Chip and Caribou. Time well spent.

Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow, & Blue (2008)

Post-2000 traditional indie pop when done right, comes from The Shins or Dr. Dog or The Unicorns. Between those gems, the past few years have seen a fair share of mediocre acts that basically blend together. Perhaps as a recent response, more daring movements have come to the front; some pulling from electronic, psyche folk, or noise circles, some reworking old sounds into something different, others dancing between unintentionally hip and novelty. But every once in a while, a band with that simple formula can stray far enough from the pattern to be both familiar and fresh. Born Ruffians’ EP struck that balance to an extent. Now the full release gives us the pay off. Red, Yellow & Blue is where you'd like to see a band like this go.

The first two tracks leading to the single, “Hummingbird” showcase that jerky synchronized shouting thing they do (that I love), and with repeated listens, I’m finding more to them. Just past the half way mark, “Foxes Mate For Life” breaks it down, serving as the clear-cut highlight. This flows right into a polished and sped up version of 2006’s “Hedonistic Me.” The album ends on its heels; “Kurt Vonnegut” and “Red Elephant” flex an unexpected balladry muscle. The whole thing is about 35 minutes. That’s almost two listens per hour, people! Get on it.