Release Date: 03.04.08
When Born Ruffians released their debut EP in 2006, they garnered praise in indie circles for their melody-driven, catchy-as-hell power-pop. But the group's first full-length, Red, Yellow and Blue, begins with a solemn, haunting acoustic guitar melody, supported by soldierly snare drums and understated piano. The song itself holds an unwieldy metaphor for determining what your own fate should be, and Beach Boys-inspired vocal harmonies echo "If I was leader of this country / For a flag, what colors would I choose? / Such a myriad to choose from / I'd pick red, yellow and blue." The song fades away, and with the electric and vocal jolt of "Barnacle Goose," Born Ruffians return to the nimble guitar work, irregular rhythms, and primal shouts and hollers that showed such promise in 2006. Rough, brawling choruses of repeated "Ha"s and "Ho"s contrast with singer/guitarist Luke Lalonde's sweet, Ray Davies-like vocals.
The entire album is a solid effort, and buoyant numbers like "Barnacle Goose," "Red Elephant," and, perhaps the most single-worthy, "Kurt Vonnegut" shows a lot of promise from a young band. The plain, folksy "Little Garcon" is more in the vein of the title track and just as appealing. But the simply annoying (not to mention terribly-titled "Badonkadonkey") is repetitive to the point of sounding like a children's playground song. Sometimes that can work, but here it grates the ears. Had that song, and the lackluster "Foxes Mate For Life," been removed from the record, it would be one of the best albums of the year.