Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Born Ruffians: Red Yellow & Blue


For its first full-length, Canadian band Born Ruffians deliberately avoided fleshing out what could've been a simple Strokes rip-off by exploring simpler sounds with producer Rusty Santos (Grizzly Bear, Panda Bear, possibly other bears). After the title track's faux-martial intro, "Barnacle Goose" offers the first animal fake-out: A spare intro, with guitar chords once per measure, refuses to develop into the expected jangle. Instead, as with the rest of the disc, it's consciously underproduced: The bass is just as quiet as the guitar, and the drums are just as likely to rap the rim as utilize the whole kit. There are more anemic animals, too: "Foxes Mate For Life" is the token lament over modern romantic problems, while "Red Elephant" acts, per convention, as the epic closer. The highlight comes via the yelped call-and-response of "I Need A Life," whose lyric—"but we go out at night"—will hopefully lead Born Ruffians to a club where they can play loud and fill in the perversely missing spaces.

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