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Born Ruffians 

Say It (Paper Bag)

Remember when indie rock sounded, well, indie? Before every upstart buzz band had access to a pocket symphony? On their second album, Say It, Toronto’s Born Ruffians recall those simpler times. The stripped-down minimalism---guitar, bass, drums and little fuss---is endearing, and there are a handful of keepers on the record like the rolling “What to Say” and the killer opener “Oh Man.” Though compared to contemporaries such as Vampire Weekend, who play in a similar sonic sandbox, the hooks don’t always hold up as well. Still, Luke Lalonde’s manic, inspired vocals remain compelling, grabbing your attention even during the album’s more languid tracks.

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Vol 25, No 28
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