Born Ruffians return with their original line-up with their fifth studio album, ‘Uncle, Duke & The Chief‘, a return to the their beginnings in a sort of indie-rock compendium. The Canadian band’s work seems capable to reach far and to encounter many, allowing some musical time-travel and a fun listening experience.
The album’s structure is a combination of speedy songs and simply-sloping, slower ones. Whereas the construction of the leading and supporting voices is consistent, there is also room for asymmetries in the perceived outcomes and for diverging narrative points.
The instrumental aspect leads the content, almost making it all. The words seem to be there for their phonetic part and to resound more than to underly meanings. Always central in the Ontarian’s tracks, the harmonies show variety and versatility: there are moments of reflection and many others where you can just fly away with the notes.
Forget Me is the fire-starter of the album, showing a double protagonist: unique voice timber (such as in the entire work) and acoustic guitar. In a ballad-like, soft storytelling.
Miss You follows the flow, changing pace. This song is more an exemplar of melody than lyricism, and a marvellous crescendo of guitars and drums. It starts and you wake up in the Sixties, somewhere around Liverpool. Then the chorus brings you back to the present, showing tons of stand-alone radio potential. Finally, when the track is close to fold up, a sort of pumping energy that recalls “arcade-firian” highlights stuns you, scattering synths in the air.
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Fade To Black is all about fast rhythm, punctuated by post-punk moments. The guitar carries you away, guided by pure drums power. After the pre-chorus, a few “vampire-weekendesque” touches are a delightful intermission and smartly ancillary at the same time. The refrain is then a clear statement of value, in the economy of this song. Tricky is another fun jump to the past: it alternates styles and is capable to entertain with some lightness, offsetting the lyrical narrative. Ring That Bell sounds upbeat, on the same fast line and melange attitude.
Last but not least, Working Together closes it all as a choral show finale, where another moment embedded in fab-four–feeling peeks in the album. Reminding one more time the importance of roots, both the collective and the personal ones: the Uncle, Duke & The Chief are in fact the nicknamed fathers of the band members.