Born Ruffians reintroduced the forgotten concept of straightforward, no-fuss indie rock with its 2008 debut, "Red, Yellow & Blue." The band takes a similar approach on its latest album, "Say It"-but this time around, the music might be uncomplicated to a fault. The opening track, "Oh Man," relies on walking basslines and drumbeats reminiscent of the Shins, but it never achieves that band's liveliness. The song flatlines despite strained shouting from frontman Luke LaLonde. Elsewhere, cuts like "Higher & Higher" and "Nova-Leigh" call to mind Vampire Weekend, but pack less punch in their guitar riffs. And while the inclusion of faint funk ("Sole Brother") and hints of country twang ("Retard Canard") expands Born Ruffians' repertoire, the track "Blood, the Sun & Water" brings the most energy to the set. It starts as a Strokes-esque garage rock jam and gives way to LaLonde's scat singing and melodies that beg listeners to yell along.
Born Ruffians, "Say It"
- Album Review