Label: Warp Release date: 01/06/10 Link: Official Site Born Ruffians are pretty straightforward, as power trios often tend to be. But where many guitar-bass-drums combos would retread the simple rock and roll path, Born Ruffians write more idiosyncratic tracks, largely on the strengths of Luke Lalonde’s clever vocal acrobatics and sloppy guitar riffs. Say It especially seems to capitalize on the weirder facets of Lalonde’s. He shrieks like Elvis Perkins without any reservations. For those accustomed to pretty voices, Lalonde’s latest incarnation will certainly come as a bit of a shock, but in a world where John McCauley’s voice is accepted (and loved for that matter), Lalonde’s voice is pretty solid. He treats it like a separate instrument, and he definitely knows how to use it. The guitar riffs here seem a little sloppier and lazier than their debut, but there’s some brilliance to be found. It sounds like he’s not trying, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The catchy verse riff on ‘Sole Brother’ is perhaps the best example of this. It’s not the most technically advanced guitar part ever, but it’s just enough to keep you singing along. That’s the mark of a good motif, in my opinion. Whether it be a keyboard riff, a bass line or as in this case a sloppy guitar riff, if you can sing along it’s good. It’s my most frequent complaint, but Say It really delivers some lyrical stinkers. Thankfully for the most part, when he sings the truly terrible lyrics, (see: ‘Sole Brother’, ‘Retard Canard’) the songs are pretty catchy and the offending lines easy to ignore. You know actually that’s probably the major issue with this album, in general it’s pretty easy to ignore. It’s the kind of CD that you could put on at a party that no one would complain about, but no one would be scrambling to find out who it was either. It’s generally inoffensive, and pleasantly catchy, but there’s no moment that sticks out in the album that makes you think “Yeah this is awesome, this is why I put this on the stereo.” As a whole, Born Ruffians come off as a slightly less serious Tokyo Police Club, but you might be better served to focusing your listening efforts on their debut. Say It isn’t a bad album for sure, but it doesn’t have that key song—or key songs—that keep you coming back to it on a regular basis. It’s a Mission: Impossible II type, not absolutely terrible, but nothing really noteworthy beyond the initial novelty of a new release. Photobucket