‘Born Ruffians’ Spotlight


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This indie Canadian band resurfaces once again in Burlington.


With plenty of spunk, enthusiasm and fresh music, this Canadian indie band resurfaces in Burlington.

Born Ruffians made their second visit to Signal Kitchen Oct. 27, which was their first stop on the U.S. leg of the RUFF Tour.

“[Signal Kitchen does] a great job recording and filming shows and collaborating with the artists,” bassist Mitch Derosier said. “There’s always a positive vibe overall. It’s amazing.”

The Ontario-based Ruffians have been playing together since high school and have been touring since 2004.

Born Ruffians are part of a tight circle of alternative Canadian artists like Tokyo Police Club, Moonking and Hollerado.

“We all came up at the same time,” Derosier said, “In Canada, it’s just the nature of where you’re from — it’s big geographically but tight-knit.”

“There’s a certain comradery about it,” he said.

Born Ruffians, described by NPR as “wily, wiry, art-rock weirdos,” have captured major recognition for their fifth studio album, “RUFF.”

“Whenever we write a record, we barely have an overall goal, but with this one we knew what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it,” Derosier said.

The album has a sharper edge than the band’s past work, which Derosier attributes to lead vocalist Luke Lalonde’s recent experiences.

“There’s a darker and more aggressive tone than we’ve had before,” Derosier said. “The earlier music had a more tongue-in-cheek humor.”

“Luke has always had a knack for being straightforward and blunt,” he said.“He didn’t want to shy away from anything.”

And Lalonde did not shy away. On the album’s seventh track, “Fuck Feelings,” Lalonde sings, “Hey man, you’ll never hold that hand…you’re almost someone else now…All I got is hard feelings you know.”

On “We Made It,” he croons, “How you dealing? Well, that’s life, it kind of rolls by. It happens to you. ‘Til it’s not.”

From Fugazi to the Beastie Boys to art rock, “RUFF” presents a grab-bag mix of sounds all seamlessly molded together into a comprehensive whole.

“The influences definitely varied a bit more on this record,” Derosier said. “We were getting into the headspace of what we wanted to do.”

He described the album as the band’s first with a certain cohesiveness, but playful, cynical and witty all the while.

“It’s immediate, spontaneous and we’re really happy about it,” Derosier said.

With their sharp lyrics and classic indie riffs, Born Ruffians are an installation in the alternative music sphere. In the states and across the northern border, the band is coming up, one spunky art rock album at a time.