Published Sep 30, 2020While most bands had a relatively quiet summer, Born Ruffians found the time and inspiration to release two full-length albums between April and now. What was initially supposed to be the band's sixth studio album quickly turned into recording two albums simultaneously. Due to the abundance of material, the band decided to release both albums, JUICE and SQUEEZE, this year.
Upon first listen, SQUEEZE's opening track, "Sentimental Saddle," suggests that this will be textbook indie rock record. It's a slow start with simplistic guitar riffs and monotone vocals until a Neil Young-worthy harmonica solo kicks in and instantly elevates the song to the next level. After some fun harmonies, the song ends on a new wave electro-rock vibe, giving fans a compete 180° from what they heard two minutes prior. It's an interesting start to the record that foreshows the rest of the album's non-linear path to indie rock success.
The band continues their experimentation on both "Sinking Ships" — the album's groovy dance track — and "Waylaid / Perpetual Adoration." The latter builds off the album's psychedelic palette and clocks in at over five minutes long, taking listeners on a respectable sonic trip.
Halfway through, listeners are treated to one of the album's highlights with "Rainbow Superfriends." The song is melodic and catchy — the kind of song that will get stuck in your head on the first listen. The track's wholesome aesthetic is reminiscent of an older sibling passing along advice to their younger self, giving the album one of its most satisfied song conclusions.
Initially, the gloominess of "Death Bed" accurately projects the feelings most of us have experienced over the past few months, but the song's upbeat acoustic chorus provides a light towards the end of the album. While the lyrics are sombre, the addition of a tambourine makes the track oddly uplifting. Concluding the album is "Albatross," another grand orchestral tune that leaves listeners on an open-ended conclusion, allowing fans to draw their own assumptions about the sounds and songs they just experienced.
While the band's indie rock sound still holds true on SQUEEZE, the addition of '60s-inspired instrumentation sprinkled throughout the album make it an interesting yet enjoyable listening experience. Born Ruffians have given fans an album full of familiarity and surprise all in one. (Wavy Haze)