Born Ruffians – Ruff
It’s probably not advisable to claim The Strokes, Talking Heads and Pixies as influences all in one breath – as does the press release accompanying Ruff – but at least it’s honest. Opening the album with a bastardised version of a Strokes riff, aping The Futureheads’ version of Hounds of Love on a later track, and mimicking the jaunty art-pop popularised by David Byrne et al in a manner that sounds faintly like Vampire Weekend, Born Ruffians continue to wear their interests on their sleeves – but without bringing more to the party.
Ruff is hardened, sharpened, in comparison to some of the group’s earlier recordings and vocalist/frontman Luke LaLonde is really giving it some welly, although occasionally at the expense of the rest of the band. The record weighs in, simultaneously, at five and zero stars for effort – it’s not that these songs lack lustre; more that they’ve all been heard before. [Katie Hawthorne]