Hummingbird is a quick, three-song strike from the Toronto-based Born Ruffians released in preparation for their full-length debut, Red, Yellow, & Blue, due next year. It serves as a nice introduction for anyone who missed the band’s first EP, and shows that they’re tightening up their chops a bit. The title track seems to be a shiny piece of cute indie pop, until you catch up to just how fast and funky the guitar and bass deliver the riffs, and how the band can change tempo on a dime. What distinguishes Born Ruffians from typical indie pop fodder is their ability to match up parts in their songs that aren’t quite equal or expected. The slowed-down uh-ohs in “Kurt Vonnegut” make the song shudder somewhat, breaking up its smooth coast in favor of something a little more daring, and the wrenches the band is always throwing into these songs pay off. Their cover of Grizzly Bear’s “Knife”—the 97th cover of that song on record—does sound a little bit like empty calories in comparison to the brooding original, but it is still delivered with equal parts energy and tight-execution. If this EP is any indication of what’s coming on the full-length, then the Born Ruffians are about to take off.
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