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Thursday, June 17, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Born Ruffians

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 8:00 AM

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Ontario trio Born Ruffians made their debut with 2008’s Red, Yellow and Blue, showcasing a twitchy indie-pop shuffle agitated enough to make Crispin Glover look like Warren Beatty. Frontman Luke LaLonde’s squirrelly tenor juts impetuously in and out of inventive arrangements as his bandmates shout and harmonize over swinging, joyously capricious rhythms. The debut was a bit more mannered and measured than their earlier EPs, and the band returns to that more energetic style on its latest album, Say It. But there’s a newfound assurance and polish to the songs, which feature enough enduring hooks to survive on more than nervy charm. “Ballad of Moose Bruce”’s rootsy, Fleet Foxes-like lilt helps kick up the group’s heels, while the thin pulsing guitar jags that underpin “Retard Canard” suggests Talking Heads schooling Gang of Four. Meanwhile, LaLonde observes in a wavering, seasick croon, “Honesty is annoying most of the time.” The album’s highlight comes in the horn-abetted folk-soul of “Come Back,” which keenly sways to an easygoing R&B groove. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear Born Ruffians move away so comfortably from their usual herky-jerky. Born Ruffians, with Young Rival, Diamonds & Pearls, play the Beachland Tavern at 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. —Chris Parker

Review the show at clevescene.com/concertscene

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