Compare and Contrast: Born Ruffian's Birthmarks

Posted by on Thursday, May 23, 2013

This week Tori and I reviewed Born Ruffians newest release Birth Birks. 

Tori's Review
First, let me say that I initially fell in love with Born Ruffians for their spontaneous and unpredictable, upbeat and incredibly catchy rock and roll. (Side note: I just learned this great new term, "herky-jerky" and it's actually in the dictionary and it describes their music perrrrfectly). I will always love their album, Red, Yellow & Blue more than any of their others.

That being said, I really, really like their new album, Birthmarks. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. I may even eventually love it. But, I do feel that a lot of the herky-jerky was lost in this album. There's a vague familiarity to the style they're adopting. There are brief moments in this album when I feel like I'm listening to some one else. Songs like "6-5000" and "Cold Pop" I find reminiscent of Vampire Weekend and songs "Permanent Hesitation" remind me a little of Passion Pit. There's also a little Tame Impala mixed in there at moments.

This album is much more well thought out than the Ruffian's previous albums. It's definitely more musically, lyrically and thematically mature. (But is mature always better?) As the album progresses, more and more sounds not found in their previous albums started to slide in. Once you hit "Golden Promises" you might have to double check to make sure you're still listening to Born Ruffians. My favorite track on this album might have to be "Dancing On the Edge of Our Graves." While it is really different than "I Need a Life" off their second studio record, Red, Yellow & Blue (my all time favorite song of theirs), the bridge in it is killer. Gets me every time.

Side note: I saw them live a couple weeks ago. Amazing. I may venture to put them on the top 5 best shows I've ever seen. Seriously.

Zach's Review
Before listening to this album, my only exposure to Born Ruffians was a song called "Barnacle Goose", which I still really like. For some reason I never listened to any of the other songs on the album. I'm not sure why, because if I were to judge them by that one song, you would think they would be one of my favorite bands. I listened to it all the time. I think I even put in on mixes for some of my friends.

Fast forward six years and Born Ruffians have put out two more albums since then. Their latest, released this year, is called Birthmarks. The more I listen to this album the more I find that I like it. On the first song, "Needle", B.R. channel their inner Animal Collective. The vocals sound just like Avey Tare. It's also the strongest track on the album. I've found myself going back to this song all week.

The rest of the album is, simply stated, a very good pop album. It reminds me a lot of The Spinto Band's album also released this year, Cool Cocoon. It's not mind blowing but it's a solid album that I would definitely recommend and continue to come back to.

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