Born Ruffians – RUFF (Yep Roc Records/Paper Bag Records, 2015)
A vocal exercise class in a nutshell, RUFF expands Born Ruffians lead singer Luke Lalonde’s sound repertoire to new heights, especially in songs “When Things Get Pointless I Roll Way” and “Yawn Tears,” the latter of which is especially sobering as Lalonde grapples with “what’s ahead and what’s behind.” RUFF finds Born Ruffians employing lyrics of a much more sombre quality, especially when compared to their previous hit singles. “We Made It,” the album’s lead single, is the odd man out; while it certainly has its share of bright tones, its cacophonous atmosphere and sounds are borderline annoying. “Don’t Live Up,” however, is full of life and brimming with positivity, tonally in line with their young audience. Optimism and maturity carry the album, though Born Ruffians don’t always deliver. While not the band’s best album, RUFF is definitely worthy of a listen.
Trial track: “Don’t Live Up”