born ruffians

Album Review

Returning with their fifth studio album, Uncle Duke & The Chief is about the journey, not the destination.

Born Ruffians - Uncle Duke & The Chief

Canadian quartet Born Ruffians return with their fifth studio album, Uncle, Duke & The Chief. An uplifting and diverse record that is sure to please.

The acoustic opener Forget Me conjures up images of a solitary man in an abandoned warehouse passionately stating “I’ll be right behind you” as the echoed call receives no reply.

Continuing the call and response theme, Miss You builds and builds with Luke Lalonde’s raspy voice parodied by fellow band members as this staunch track strides to its own marching beat.

The psychedelic swagger of Side Tracked is a walk down a sunny path without a care in the world. Its fits and bursts approach like that of a quantum particle popping in and out of existence. Filled with punchy moments before relaxing back into a stupor.

The rollicking surfer rock Fade To Black is a cacophony of steady drum beats, hand claps, big semi acoustics, synthesizers and whistles. The whole far greater than the sum of its parts, a boisterous summer anthem that will have dancefloors straining under the weight of enthusiastic listeners jumping to its every beat.

Soaked in reverb, the dreamy Love Too Soon meanders softly with its organ accompaniment and gentle strumming whilst questioning the timing of when love occurs.

Bobbing up and down with its simple bass line, Spread So Thin is the mid album reflection intermixed its nostalgic new wave vibe. A serine track that provides a little respite before shifting gear.

Taking it into overdrive, Tricky thumps into existence with its heavy drums and defiant yelps with Lalonde proclaiming “I’m so sick of that overrated stuff that you think is so sophisticated”. This garage track wells up in peaks and troughs, peppered with some gritty fret board scratching.

If there was one track on this LP that best surmises the entire flavour of the record, it is Ring That Bell. A track that jostles amongst itself with a battle of dominance fought between surfer rock, 60’s swagger and keyboard, basslines that would be right at home in any French disco act. A skilful fusion of styles that Born Ruffians exploit to the full extent whilst losing nothing of their own flare.

Rounding off the album, Working Together is a bar at the end of the night gathered around the piano before last drinks are called. A joyous send-off that departs on a high note in true Ruffians style.

An LP that zigs and zags its way through indie anthems, bouts of post- punk and reflective moments of solace, Uncle, Duke & The Chief is all that we have come to know and love about Born Ruffians. Their musical palate as broad as ever and with singles such as Forget Me and Love Too Soon, proving the hit machine is churning as strongly today as when the world was first introduced to the band back in 2006.

Out February via Paper Bag Records