Born Ruffians "Hummingbird" / "Knife" / "Kurt Vonnegut"

Born Ruffians "Hummingbird" / "Knife" / "Kurt Vonnegut"
It’s been a year since Toronto’s Born Ruffians released their self-titled debut EP on Warp and now they’ve finally returned with a timely taster just in time for their North American jaunt with Caribou. The boys have been holed up in the studio working on their forthcoming debut full-length, Red, Yellow & Blue (expected in early 2008), and "Hummingbird” is the first official single. A staple of their 2007 live set, the song is like an elastic being stretched to its most dangerous point, only to be released and shoot eyes out for three minutes. The Ruffians pack in so much tense energy and let it explode with super-tight instrumentation (emphasised best by Mitch DeRosier’s superball-zig-zag of a bass riff), demonstrating that they’ve really honed their shuddering pop sound to a tee. Luke LaLonde’s frisky squeaks indecipherably pronounce the story of some girl with a deathwish, which climaxes in a group chant of "We’re not gonna die like that! Oh no!” Lovely. Next is their cover of Grizzly Bear’s "Knife,” a year-old, spot on version that sadly isn’t their own (nor featured on Grizzly Bear’s upcoming Friend EP), considering how convincingly it exhibits their ability to wear their hearts on their sleeves whilst keeping their nerdy charm. Last but not least is a personal favourite, "Kurt Vonnegut,” which to my ears has little to do with the late author. Steve Hamelin’s heavy tom thump sounds hilarious – in a good way! – traversing across the speakers like Muppet Animal and/or Keith Moon unleashing a violent, unrestrained solo. It has a little rougher sound in the production, but the collective harmonies in the chorus manage to resonate beautifully for a nice finish. Things are sounding good for the band, and if this is any indication of what to expect from the album, we should be in for a real treat. Don’t miss them at La Tulipe in Montreal tonight (October 3) for their Pop Montreal showcase, as well as their West coast dates starting in Vancouver on October 30.

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