NORAM 2010s. Semantic satiation over words like punk and rock. Distracted conversations loop in temples of commerce. Tracks are played on cracked iPhones, glossed through like pages of comics.
Luke Lalonde. Songs percolate in his erratic and preoccupied mind. Mitch Ruffian. Nutter wrestling fan relentlessly touring, hopscotching wifi. Steve Hamelin is courting death. Their bandmates Bad Andy & Adam H trafficked from Toronto sub scenes.
Years ago three kids holed up in their parents’ basement, loved Talking Heads, the Pixies, the Strokes, and made it. The founding members became good but stayed ruff. The scene is now disillusioned. Lalonde has been tinkering with the machinery of the universe. Seething with rage and ambition, he offers a succession of songs following the circuitous motion of tidal mood swings: optimism lurks menacingly in “Stupid Dream” and “We Made It”, whereas “Don’t Live Up” and “Shade to Shade” vibrate with radicalized ambivalence.
He performs with James Brown zeal; lightning hooks and staccato riffs. Mitch’s bass bubblegum and heavy. Bad Andy is Eno from Roxy Music. Hamelin and Adam H on drums. Recorded in Toronto by Jeff McMurrich and mixed by Rusty Santos in New York.
Born Ruffians. The record is ‘RUFF’ – simultaneously a return to form and a departure from expectations. Songs of refutation, lamentations of forgotten past lives, and ecstatic self-erasures that say “eat shit, we did it!”. ‘RUFF’, as an idea, is everything – sound, message, band. If ‘Birthmarks’ was polished and presentable, RUFF is the ugly innards that hide beneath.