Six songs, 15 minutes, and that’s that for the debut effort of Toronto’s Born Ruffians. These three young Canadians bounce around with some of the energy of Be Your Own Pet, but possess more artfulness. Veering the way of sunny pop accompaniments and simple chord progressions rather than overdriven, raw punk energy, the band finds a vein of catchy melody and wraps it in an indie cloak worthy of Isaac Brock. “I’m all about simplicity,” Luke Lalonde declares on “This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life”, and the spirit pervades this EP. But the band is willing to take risks, and the risks pay off: the opening track ends so suddenly it’ll make you jump, and the staggering delivery of “Hedonistic Me” is really effective. Lalonde’s voice is high and whiny; on first, unseen listen, it even resembles Patience Hodgson of the Grates. They don’t always get it right, as on the whine-gospel of “7th Son”; but the accumulated goodwill more or less overrides the slip-up. However, Born Ruffians’ big appeal, and their big limitation, is their youth. Lalonde needs to mature as a singer, lose the sense of a band doing an impression (it doesn’t quite come off; on “Piecing It Together”, the band sounds like Figurines sounding like Modest Mouse). Sitting somewhere between a high school band and the Arctic Monkeys, Born Ruffians may have a bright future—if they can keep this eclectic, punk-tinged melody and smooth away some of the inexperience.
// Notes from the Road
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