[Album Review] Born Ruffians- Birthmarks
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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: April 16, 2013
Label: Paper Bag Records

I don’t think I was the lone wolf, but I hated Born Ruffian’s 2010 LP Say It. I thought it was sloppy and all over the place and frankly not memorable. The appropriately named “Birthmarks” could be said as a sort of reincarnation and much improved.

Single and leading track “Needle” gets you right away with Luke Lalonde’s vulnerable yet effective vocals. Then it bursts into an addictive tropical pop reminding me of last year’s beloved Tanlines and Vactioner albums. “6-5000” even has references to beach and party times. This album pines for summer, just listen to the sunny “Ocean’s Deep”, making this April release date seem a bit premature.

Luke Lalonde teases sexually with the playboyish “Permanent Hesitation” and the naughty “Cold Pop”. All this is disguised underneath the groovy arrangements. All the tracks themselves could make great singles. However, the album does exhaust and delve into sound-too-similar territory towards the middle. There’s a few notably different tunes like the reverb soaked “So Slow” living life at a different pace than the party atmosphere from earlier.

Overall Birthmarks seems a vast improvement and quite enjoyable compared to Born Ruffian’s past repertoire, but whether they are offering up something new is to be debated.