Uncle, Duke and The Thief is the fifth album by Canadian indie-rock three-piece Born Ruffians. The album was produced by Richard Swift, a singer and songwriter in his own right, who has worked with the likes of Foxygen, The Black Keys, Tennis and The Shins. Two members of July Talk were creative directors for the album, a job that in this context, I don’t fully understand the need for! Despite this arguably unnecessary meddling, If it’s anything like its predecessor, Ruff, it will be a good ‘un.
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Were Born Ruffians really on Warp? I suppose if Maximo Park were on Warp then anything is possible. The Canadian three piece make a raw and raucous style of indie rock with some of the loudest vocals I've ever heard on record. Not only are they mixed loudly but they are sung in a sort of foghorn voice. Makes Liam Gallagher sound like early Michael Stipe.
These are singalong things that sound like Jake Bugg has got himself a band and tried out some Arcade Fire like dynamics. Initially I was ready to give this a go as I liked the passion on show but 'Miss You' is severely testing my patience containing a chorus which contains the words "I miss you baby, I miss you now". Mark E Smith died for this. Much better is 'Sidetracked' which has a more subtle soulful feel and pleasant falsetto vocals and a sweet melody. It really helps when they stop shouting.
Look, I don't want to be too harsh on it as this is ideal moshpit fodder for folks who just want to have fun and not think too hard. Their slower songs are winning me over though and stopping me going totally to town on the record. 'Spread So Think' shows that the band can do subtle when they want to with some lovely sparkling guitars and a bit of a Real Estate blissed out vibe which breaks into a handsome chorus. A lovely song actually. The band do have more to show than they sometimes want to let on.
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- Uncle, Duke & The Chief by Born Ruffians
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