Review: Born Ruffians – Pulp (2021)


Born Ruffians are a Canadian indie rock band based in Toronto. They began officially in 2004 in the Georgian Bay town of Midland, Ontario, and are composed of Luke Lalonde (vocals, guitar, keys), bassist Mitch DeRosier, and drummer Steve Hamelin. The guys have a new album `Pulp` out this month which is the final part of a trilogy of albums that include Juice and Squeeze that had been recorded and released in the last twelve months.

After recording their last album, 2018`s `Uncle, Duke & The Chief` they had numerous songs left over so they broke these down and created a trilogy of records.

The album opens with `Checkin` Out` a quite hypnotic sort of West Coast period slice of psychedelia with a mesmerising drum pulse and intricate rolling rhythmic guitar chords with lyrics that I found a little hard to work out. Whether it was checking out as in dying, assessing a member of the opposite sex, or departing a hotel, maybe all or neither, who knows. Nevertheless, an interesting introduction. I felt there was a hint of the art rock band Devo on `Types Of People` which races along at times but also stops and starts with some curious musical interludes along this journey. An odd tale of differences in certain people`s character.

`Heat Wave` is a laid back quite lethargic offering which would be pretty much in line with struggling with the effects of a hot spell. A quite innocuous piece musically and lyrically. We have another varied number with `Beyond The Lightning` which has a sort of trudging feel, then a slight anthemic texture but retaining a retro vibe throughout. A track that`s possibly looking forward towards something to come with beyond the lightening maybe being a metaphor.

`Ring Finger` seemed to be a love song of sorts relating a relationship between a couple where one of the participants hopes will end up in long term commitment. There`s an awful lot going on with a thumping beat, juddering guitar chords and hand claps then a dreamy sort of ambience. A composition that delightfully ebbs and flows. We have a strange anomalous piece with `Husha` possibly a love ode set against a slow burn synth like refrain and some charmingly hypnotic remote guitar chords with drums and a bashed gong merging towards the end, marvellously alluring.

This release closes out with `Happy Parasites` which seems to relate to avoiding the light, maybe avoiding death and relishing life. There`s all sorts going on, shouting, jangly guitar riffs, intricate chords, vocal harmonies, vocals that are quite high pitched, thumping drums and a kind of captivating Beach Boys refrain midway. Weird but wonderful.

There was much to enjoy with Born Ruffians and `Pulp` but you`ll have to give it a few listens to really sink in and make the best of it. If you thought The Flaming Lips were a little off centre and diverse in their approach, well Born Ruffians more than give them a run for their money.

Rating 9 /10


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