Born Ruffians

Say It (Paper Bag)

Rating: NNN

Born Ruffians’ sophomore album is a cohesive, occasionally repetitious helping of choppy indie pop, almost brutalist in its minimalist instrumentation and dry-as-a-bone production. Memorable Strokes-informed melodies and chimey guitar hooks make Luke Lalonde’s not-always-charming voice go down easier, while boppy drums and bass lines repeatedly stop and start.


Like all effective trios, the young Toronto band, originally from Midland, understands the importance of making every part count. Lean, sparse verses move into soulful choruses with the subtle shift of a drumbeat. Spots of sax add variety, while a touch of vocal reverb on the standout Nova Leigh, with its cool warped-vinyl-album sound and Lalonde’s fine falsetto, makes you wish they reached into the effects box more often.

Top track: Nova Leigh

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