Toronto-based indie rockers Born Ruffians—Luke Lalonde (guitar/vocals), Mitch DeRosier (bass), and Steve Hamelin (drums)—return with their second album of 2020. The digital-only SQUEEZE will be out on October 2 via Yep Roc Records. Listen to “30th Century War” and “Albatross” at your favorite DSP and pre-order the album here.
Following the recording of Richard Swift-produced Uncle, Duke & The Chief in 2018, the band still had a batch of songs that they wanted to record, so they entered the studio without knowing what would become of them. Those prolific recording sessions churned out more and more music, ultimately boiling down to two distinct vibes, resulting in JUICE, released in April 2020, and SQUEEZE, the companion album in a multi-album release plan.
Produced by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Born Ruffians, and recorded at Baldwin Street Sound in Toronto, the band’s latest album was written in the shadow of Brexit and Donald Trump, birthed well before the global pandemic, and finds the trio exploring a more psych-y, orchestral, and expansive sound.
Lead singer/songwriter Luke Lalonde admits to being “one of the millions who’ve become more politically switched on” by present-day circumstances, and notes the nine songs on the album had him “thinking about the end of the American empire and these massive global shifts that we’re seeing.”
“30th Century War” wonders aloud how everyone can still be “all filled up with emotional conflict” when “peace and understanding are so basic,” says Lalonde. The evergreen topics of conflict and stupidity are pondered on songs like the wavy-hazy ‘70s soft-pop of “Sinking Ships” and the deceptively jaunty sing-a-long of “Death Bed.” “Lately, I’ve just had a really hard time getting into anything that isn’t saying something.”
Lalonde shares vocal duties with indie-pop luminary Hannah Georgas on “Waylaid,” and the band finds a way to incorporate their anthemic, hooky roots within their new psych-laden sound on the opening track, “Sentimental Saddle,” and “Rainbow Superfriends.”
Formed in rural Ontario, Born Ruffians arrived on the Toronto scene in 2004 and released a self-titled EP in 2006 on XL/Warp Records, who went onto release the band’s debut full-length album, Red, Yellow & Blue (2008) and Say It (2010). Subsequent albums Birthmarks (2013), RUFF (2015), Uncle, Duke & The Chief (2018), and JUICE (April 2020) were released on Yep Roc Records.