by / June 15th, 2010 /

Born Ruffians – Say it

 2/5 Rating

(Warp Records)

Maybe the idea behind Say It, the second record from Canadian three piece Born Ruffians seeks to return to back to basics guitar, bass, and drums, with a little dose of manic vocals from front man Luke Lalonde.

While the idea may be admirable, the album amounts to nothing more than an array of scattered jam fills, wandering guitar hooks and what appears to be first take vocals – that shouldn’t have gotten further than the band’s rehearsal rooms after a bad hangover.

If live music is for true expression, allowing for the odd bum note, coinciding with raw energy, surely the concept of recording an album is to strive for perfection and to record the best possible sound to represent the songs.

Clearly in the recording of Say It, this was not the case. Songs like ‘The Ballad of Moose Bruce’, which actually starts off promising enough with its racehorse-pounding rhythm and Spanish guitar hooks, descends into what appears to be an unsupervised recording session where the producer clearly hadn’t the balls to the tell the leader sing he was out of tune.

Other tunes such as ‘Higher & Higher’ and ‘Nova Leigh’ amount to nothing more than quirky for the sake of being quirky, coming across like a poor man’s Vampire Weekend.

There are to be fair, little nuggets of promise hidden amongst the drivel: such as the slow funk disco like rhythm of ‘What to Say’, with hints of Brian Eno synthesizers and tremolo guitar lines.

It’s moments like this when the band step outside the back to basic linear approach to making music where you think they might actually progress. If not, maybe they should think about recruiting a fourth member to broaden their musical horizons.

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