Born Ruffians – Uncle, Duke, & the Chief

I’ve been listening to Born Ruffians on repeat for the past couple months in anticipation for this album, and I was not disappointed. Uncle, Duke, & the Chief was a fun ride from the beginning to the end, and is an album I will be revisiting often.

The album starts with “Forget Me”. The first minute of the song is
just the vocalist and acoustic guitar. The vocalist has a very distinct voice. There’s a kind of twang to it, and I some points he’s kind of singing and yelling at the same time, but it sounds really good. Then in the chorus there’s a harmony and clapping, the next verse introducing the drums and another guitar. The steady buildup and simplicity of the song is really beautiful, and it fits with the lyrics, which are about someone dying and going into the light. “Someday, you’ll get, older / I’ll be right behind you / New days, hard to, shoulder / I’ll be right behind you / Wait, for me, ohh / Cause I’ll be right behind you / Wait, and see, ohh / You know that I will find you.”

“Miss You” is (obviously) about missing someone, and trying to get over them. But it’s a really upbeat and drum-heavy song that’s impossible to not dance and sing along to. Instead of dwelling in sadness, this song is more of just a statement: “hey, I miss you”, and I really appreciated that. It’s easily my favorite song on this album.

The next song, “Side Tracked” takes a more blues approach than the previous songs. It seems like a reaction to the previous song, as it starts out “You’re not the same you / Things are different now / Things are different somehow.” The second half of the song transitions into something more psychedellic. It’s a new sound from Born Ruffians, and while it wasn’t awful, I’d love to see them develop it a bit more and do some more songs like it in the future.

“Fade to Black” is Beach Boys vocals with 80s rock instrumentals. Plus, every once in a while there’s some electronic sounds in the background. Which sounds like a strange combination, which it is, but it sounds amazing. It was executed wonderfully, and is a song that I think fans of various genres will enjoy.

The album slows down again with “Love Too Soon”, which is about falling in love at the wrong time. “Some people fall in love / It’s wonderful, too / But sometimes too soon for love.” Like “Forget Me”, the song is pretty simplistic, but it’s still very pretty. Ditto for “Spread so Thin”, which is probably my least favorite song on the album. It’s not awful, it’s just much of the same.

“Tricky” and “Ring that Bell” go back to a 70s/80s sound. The beat changes multiple times in “Ring that Bell”, and the result is really cool. I don’t think that’s something a lot of artists use anymore, at least not to this extent.

The album ends with “Working Together”, which is very 60s hippie-esque. It largely consists of the lyrics “We’re working together / Love comes to whoever wants it / All good things are free.” This unifying song is a nice way to end the album.

Overall, I think people are sleeping on a great band. This album plays with so many different genres that there’s something for everybody, so you should go check them out. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting patiently for their next album.

By: Monica Brich


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