Born Ruffians: Juice

It has been said that routine is the destroyer of creativity. But for Born Ruffians routine only seems to work to their advantage. The Canadian band, originally formed in 2004, are nothing but consistent. Like clockwork, they release new music every two years, and after their 2018 release, Uncle, Duck & The Chief, they have graced us with their sixth studio album Juice, released on their very own record label, Wavy Haze Records.

Born Ruffians is comprised of Andy Lloyd on guitar and keyboard, Mitch DeRosier on bass, and Luke Lalonde, lending both his guitar and vocal talents to the band. For nearly 20 years, they have created upbeat indie-pop that rivaled that of Tokyo Police Club and Franz Ferdinand. With a great back catalog, it’s hard to understand why they don’t stand more at the forefront of the genre, and the quality of Juice only adds to my confusion.

Born Ruffians takes inspiration for many different genres to create their own sound. For example, have you ever wondered what 50’s be-bop would sound like if it was mixed with a dollop of Dave Grohl’s energy? Well, listen to “I’m Fine,” and you’ll get an idea. With a solid foundation, Lalonde layers his voice to add edginess to the track. And while the title of the track sounds like something that is muttered by people around the world right now, Lalonde’s voice is teetering on the precipice of falling into a full meltdown. But he holds it together, creating a song that you can really bop along to.

The majority of Juice is the music equivalent of drinking ten cups of coffee and trying to keep the extra energy in. That kind of energy rush needs to be calmed down, and that’s what “Hey You” does. It is a welcome break in the middle of the album and stars the vocal talents of Maddy Wilde. The guitar is bright and the vocals are dreamy, slowing down the tempo of the album, allowing your heart rate to get back to normal.

Every good mixtape must rise and fall, carefully predicting the listeners’ mood and steering their listening experience. Juice is like a great mixtape. The position of each track is considered carefully, and while each track has its own merits, this album should be listened to as a full album. And like any great mixtape, it ends with a musical epic. “Hazy Wave” and “Wavy Haze” are the final two tracks on the album and merge into each other. From the swirling auditory gymnastics of “Hazy Wave” to lamenting “Wavy Haze,” Born Ruffians conclude the album on a thoughtful note.

Juice is the album I didn’t know I needed. It taps into so much ’00s nostalgia while also adding a brand new sound. The album is upbeat, which also being purposeful and seems to take each moment by the collar and shakes the moment until it gets everything out of it. Positive vibes are what is needed right now, and Born Ruffians have delivered.

Rating: 8.7/10

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