Album review of Red Yellow and Blue by Born Ruffians.
Canadian trio Born Ruffians are part of the puckish guitar twirling vanguard at the formerly all-techno label Warp, alongside amongst others math rockers Battles and new-folk troubadors Grizzly Bear. To those with long memories it must seem like things have finally come full circle; whilst The Klaxons won a Mercury for crossing post punk with the gurgling proto rave that Warp helped usher into the mainstream, the arch contrarians are now signing the kind of outfit that flamboyantly sum up their sound in three words - guitar, bass, drums.
Equal parts in thrall to Animal Collective and Pavement, this is the sound of three guys messing around in the upper keys and doing whatever the hell they like. It's also blissfully unaware of conventions; with the odd swirl of harmonica, brittle, almost harmonies, choppy sentiment and song titles like Foxes Mate for Life it could easily collapse under it's own pretense, but even the yodelling (!) of the excellent In A Mirror is apparently there simply because it fits.
Given their patrons however, you're always expecting a sting in the tail from Red, Yellow and Blue. There are beguiling moments, most notably the insistent chug of Barnacle Goose and the Futureheads soundalike Humming Bird, but singer Luke Lalonde never quite manages to overlay his personality onto proceedings and after a while the anorexic guitars begin to grate. Vampire Weekend and especially MGMT are teleporting the genre formerly known as indie to places hardly imagined, which only serves to underline that those left behind - like Born Ruffians - are being left in a black hole.
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